Section 228.082, Florida Statutes 2001
228.082 The Florida Virtual High School.--
(1)(a) The Florida Virtual High School is established for the development and delivery of on-line and distance learning education and shall be administratively housed within the Commissioner of Education's Office of Technology and Information Services. The Commissioner of Education shall monitor the school's performance and report its performance to the Florida Board of Education and the Legislature.
(b) The mission of the Florida Virtual High School is to provide students with high-quality technology-based educational opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. The school shall serve any student in the state who meets the profile for success in this educational delivery context and shall give priority to:
1. Students who need expanded access to courses in order to meet their educational goals, such as home education students and students in inner-city and rural high schools who do not have access to higher-level courses.
2. Students seeking accelerated access in order to obtain a high school diploma at least one semester early.
(c) To ensure students are informed of the opportunities offered by the Florida Virtual High School, the commissioner shall provide the board of trustees access to the records of public school students in a format prescribed by the board of trustees.
The board of trustees of the Florida Virtual High School shall identify appropriate performance measures and standards based on student achievement that reflect the school's statutory mission and priorities, and shall implement an accountability system for the school that includes assessment of its effectiveness and efficiency in providing quality services that encourage high student achievement, seamless articulation, and maximum access.
(2) The Florida Virtual High School shall be governed by a board of trustees comprised of seven members appointed by the Governor to 4-year staggered terms, one of whom shall be the current chair of the Florida High School Advisory Board and one of whom shall be a representative of the fiscal agent, and one of whom shall be the Chief Information Officer or designee from the State Technology Office. The board shall be a public agency entitled to sovereign immunity pursuant to s. 768.28, and board members shall be public officers who shall bear fiduciary responsibility for the Florida Virtual High School. The board of trustees shall have the following powers and duties:
(a)1. The board of trustees shall meet at least 4 times each year, upon the call of the chair, or at the request of a majority of the membership.
2. The fiscal year for the Florida Virtual High School shall be the state fiscal year as provided in s. 216.011(1)(o).
(b) The board of trustees shall be responsible for the Florida Virtual High School's development of a state-of-the-art technology-based education delivery system that is cost-effective, educationally sound, marketable, and capable of sustaining a self-sufficient delivery system through the Florida Education Finance Program, by fiscal year 2003-2004. Beginning in fiscal year 2001-2002, the school shall collect and report data for all students served and credit awarded. This data shall be segregated by private, public, and home school students by program. Information shall also be collected which reflects any other school in which a virtual high school student is enrolled.
(c) The board of trustees shall aggressively seek avenues to generate revenue to support its future endeavors, and shall enter into agreements with distance learning providers. The board of trustees may acquire, enjoy, use, and dispose of patents, copyrights, and trademarks and any licenses and other rights or interests thereunder or therein. Ownership of all such patents, copyrights, trademarks, licenses, and rights or interests thereunder or therein shall vest in the state, with the board having full right of use and full right to retain the revenues derived therefrom. Any funds realized from patents, copyrights, trademarks, or licenses shall be used to support the school's research and development activities in order to improve courseware and services to its students.
(d) The board of trustees shall annually prepare and submit to the Florida Board of Education a legislative budget request, including funding requests for computers for public school students who do not have access to public school computers, in accordance with chapter 216 and s. 235.41. The legislative budget request of the Florida Virtual High School shall be prepared using the same format, procedures, and timelines required for the submission of the legislative budget of the Department of Education.
(e) In accordance with law and rules of the Florida Board of Education, the board of trustees shall administer and maintain personnel programs for all employees of the board of trustees and the Florida Virtual High School. The board of trustees may adopt rules, policies, and procedures related to the appointment, employment, and removal of personnel.
1. The board of trustees shall determine the compensation, including salaries and fringe benefits, and other conditions of employment for such personnel.
2. The board of trustees may establish and maintain a personnel loan or exchange program by which persons employed by the board for the Florida Virtual High School as academic administrative and instructional staff may be loaned to, or exchanged with persons employed in like capacities by, public agencies either within or without this state, or by private industry. With respect to public agency employees, the program authorized by this subparagraph shall be consistent with the requirements of part II of chapter 112. The salary and benefits of board personnel participating in the loan or exchange program shall be continued during the period of time they participate in a loan or exchange program, and such personnel shall be deemed to have no break in creditable or continuous service or employment during such time. The salary and benefits of persons participating in the personnel loan or exchange program who are employed by public agencies or private industry shall be paid by the originating employers of those participants, and such personnel shall be deemed to have no break in creditable or continuous service or employment during such time.
3. The employment of all Florida Virtual High School academic administrative and instructional personnel shall be subject to rejection for cause by the board of trustees, and shall be subject to policies of the board of trustees relative to certification, tenure, leaves of absence, sabbaticals, remuneration, and such other conditions of employment as the board deems necessary and proper, not inconsistent with law.
4. Each person employed by the board of trustees in an academic administrative or instructional capacity with the Florida Virtual High School shall be entitled to a contract as provided by rules of the board.
5. All employees except temporary, seasonal, and student employees may be state employees for the purpose of being eligible to participate in the Florida Retirement System and receive benefits. The classification and pay plan, including terminal leave and other benefits, and any amendments thereto, shall be subject to review and approval by the Department of Management Services and the Executive Office of the Governor prior to adoption. In the event that the board of trustees assumes responsibility for governance pursuant to this section before approval is obtained, employees shall be compensated pursuant to the system in effect for the employees of the fiscal agent.
(f) The board of trustees shall establish priorities for admission of students in accordance with paragraph (1)(b).
(g) The board of trustees shall establish and distribute to all school districts and high schools in the state procedures for enrollment of students into courses offered by the Florida Virtual High School. Such procedures shall be designed to minimize paperwork and fairly resolve the issue of double funding students taking courses online.
(h) The board of trustees shall annually submit to the Florida Board of Education both forecasted and actual enrollments for the Florida Virtual High School, according to procedures established by the Florida Board of Education. At a minimum, such procedures must include the number of public, private, and home school students served by district.
(i) The board of trustees shall provide for the content and custody of student and employee personnel records. Student records shall be subject to the provisions of s. 228.093. Employee records shall be subject to the provisions of s. 231.291.
(j) The financial records and accounts of the Florida Virtual High School shall be maintained under the direction of the board of trustees and under regulations prescribed by the Florida Board of Education for the uniform system of financial records and accounts for the schools of the state.
The Governor shall designate the initial chair of the board of trustees to serve a term of 4 years. Members of the board of trustees shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. The board of trustees shall be a body corporate with all the powers of a body corporate and such authority as is needed for the proper operation and improvement of the Florida Virtual High School. The board of trustees is specifically authorized to adopt rules, policies, and procedures, consistent with law and rules of the Florida Board of Education related to governance, personnel, budget and finance, administration, programs, curriculum and instruction, travel and purchasing, technology, students, contracts and grants, and property as necessary for optimal, efficient operation of the Florida Virtual High School. Tangible personal property owned by the board of trustees shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 273.
(3)(a) Until fiscal year 2003-2004, the Commissioner of Education shall include the Florida Virtual High School as a grant-in-aid appropriation in the department's legislative budget request to the Florida Board of Education, the Governor, and the Legislature, subject to any guidelines imposed in the General Appropriations Act.
(b) The Orange County District School Board shall be the temporary fiscal agent of the Florida Virtual High School.
(4) Under no circumstance may the credit of the state be pledged on behalf of the Florida Virtual High School.
(5) The board of trustees shall annually submit to the Governor, the Legislature, the Commissioner of Education, and the Florida Board of Education a complete and detailed report setting forth:
(a) The operations and accomplishments of the Florida Virtual High School.
(b) The marketing and operational plan for the Florida Virtual High School, including recommendations regarding methods for improving the delivery of education through the Internet and other distance learning technology.
(c) The assets and liabilities of the Florida Virtual High School at the end of the fiscal year.
(d) A copy of an annual financial and compliance audit of the accounts and records of the Florida Virtual High School, conducted by an independent certified public accountant and performed in accordance with rules adopted by the Auditor General.
(e) Recommendations regarding the unit cost of providing services to students. In order to most effectively develop public policy regarding any future funding of the Florida Virtual High School, it is imperative that the cost of the program is accurately identified. The identified cost of the program must be based on reliable data.
(f) Recommendations regarding an accountability mechanism to assess the effectiveness of the services provided by the Florida Virtual High School.
(6) The Florida Board of Education may adopt rules it deems necessary to implement reporting requirements for the Florida Virtual High School.
History.--s. 1, ch. 2000-224; s. 9, ch. 2001-61; s. 2, ch. 2001-66; s. 28, ch. 2001-170; s. 141, ch. 2001-266.