Section 229.602, Florida Statutes 2001
229.602 Florida private sector and education partnerships.--
(1) This section may be cited as the "Florida Private Sector and Education Partnership Act."
(2) The Legislature recognizes that the public school system would be strengthened by a closer cooperation between the private sector and the schools. Where such cooperation exists, teachers, schools, and students benefit from the support, recognition, and expertise provided from the business community. The business community also benefits by enhancing its image and enlarging its pool of prepared potential employees. Further, local communities with strong support from the business community have better educational systems, contributing to a better quality of life, greater community stability, and a healthier economic climate. It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to enhance existing cooperation between the private sector and education entities and to facilitate the expansion and development of new partnership activities.
(3) The Commissioner of Education shall designate an office within the Department of Education to encourage and enhance partnerships between education and the private sector, to function as a clearinghouse for material dissemination, and to provide training and consultation to school districts as appropriate. The duties of the office shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) Developing recommendations for establishing private sector and education partnerships and for the distribution of funds to local districts for partnership activities.
(b) Evaluating grant proposals and making recommendations to the commissioner for distribution of funds to local districts with priority given to partnership activities which involve teacher development strategies, high school completion programs for students identified as at-risk, telecommunications, senior citizen involvement, rural districts with financial needs, new innovative programs, and other priority programs deemed appropriate.
(c) Developing recommendations for soliciting and utilizing funds of the state direct-support organization as defined in s. 229.8021.
(d) Expanding the network for exchange of expertise and information about private sector and education partnerships throughout the state.
(e) Providing technical assistance and workshops to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise about partnership programs.
(f) Establishing a method of measuring the impact of private sector and education partnerships on improving the quality of education.
(g) Establishing appropriate award systems to recognize business for its contribution to improving education.
(h) Identifying exemplary materials and models to be disseminated to local school districts.
(4) Beginning January 1, 1989, the commissioner shall make an annual report to the Legislature within 60 days prior to the beginning of the regular legislative session. The report shall include:
(a) A summary of the status of private sector and education partnership programs including the Florida public schools challenge grants program and other grant programs.
(b) Recommendations to improve the efficiency and promote the growth of private sector and education partnerships.
(5) Each school district shall designate one or more persons to coordinate local private sector and education partnership activities. The general activities of these coordinators shall be to enhance private sector and education partnership activities. The specific duties of the district coordinators shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) Maintaining contact with local businesses and industries, local chamber of commerce organizations, private industry councils with Job Training Partnership Act programs, district occupational specialists, guidance personnel, economics educators, volunteer coordinators, community education coordinators, appropriate governmental personnel, and any others interested in private sector and education partnerships.
(b) Coordinating private sector and education partnership activities.
(c) Receiving materials and information disseminated by the office and communicating this information to appropriate district and business personnel.
(d) Providing assistance in applying partnership models.
(e) Providing communication linkage between the local education agency and the private sector.
(f) Disseminating information about successful partnerships to the local print and broadcast media.
(g) Providing assistance in writing grant proposals to receive funds.
(h) Providing information to local employers and postsecondary education institutions regarding the Florida gold seal vocational endorsement program.
(i) Seeking partnerships to provide recipients of the Florida gold seal vocational endorsement with job and advanced training opportunities, including scholarships to postsecondary vocational-technical institutions.
(6)(a) The Commissioner of Education shall authorize Florida public schools challenge grants to school districts. These funds shall be distributed by the commissioner on a fair and equitable basis. Eighty percent of the available funds shall be applied to projects in which matching funding support is provided by foundations or the private sector. The commissioner may include documented market value of private sector services in awarding challenge grants. The remaining 20 percent of available funds may be granted directly to school districts based on local need and limited private sector resources. Funding matches shall be conducted with a ratio of 60 percent provided by the private sector and 40 percent provided by the state. Submitted proposals shall indicate the agencies involved in the partnership agreement, an outline of activities to be undertaken, the procedures for joint planning and coordination, a budget request explaining the proposed expenditure of funds, the outcomes and advantages expected from the funded activities, and a provision for reporting the results at a regional or state conference held at the conclusion of the project. Grant proposals shall be signed by representatives of the agencies involved in the partnership agreement. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the department, shall adopt a simple format to facilitate grant proposal applications.
(b) Florida public schools challenge grants shall be awarded for, but not limited to, the following types of programs:
1. Dropout prevention and alcohol and substance abuse prevention.
2. Preservice and inservice training of teachers, administrators, and other school personnel.
3. Teacher internships or sabbaticals in the private sector.
4. Joint community/school long-range planning.
5. Tutoring and mentoring of students.
16. Career education.
7. Student or teacher incentive and motivational programs.
8. Community/school resource development.
9. Physical plant and workplace enhancement.
10. Community/school public relations and communication.
11. Private sector/education coordinating activities to facilitate the further establishment of partnerships.
12. Management training which would involve both school and private sector managers.
13. Programs which bring business volunteers into the classroom.
(7)(a) The Florida compact pilot program is hereby established with the intent to provide incentives for local school districts to establish formal agreements with business, industry, vocational programs, postsecondary institutions of higher education, government, and other community resources in an effort to reduce the rate of school dropouts, to provide jobs for high school graduates, and to increase opportunities for high school graduates to attend vocational programs and other postsecondary institutions of higher education.
(b) The Commissioner of Education is authorized to select at least three school districts or consortia of districts to participate in a 5-year pilot program to foster improved interagency collaboration among those who educate, work with, and employ young people. Such program shall be implemented beginning with the 1987-1988 school year. Evidence of collaboration shall take the form of a written agreement, or compact, that is the result of a formal strategic planning model and specifically defined linkages.
The compact shall include commitments, stated as goals which are accompanied by operational strategies, from business, community, government, and schools for comprehensive efforts including, but not limited to, activities for raising student achievement and reducing school dropouts and youth unemployment.
(c) Each school district or consortium of districts may apply to participate in this pilot program on forms prescribed by the department. Factors to be considered in selection of the pilot sites shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
1. Dropout rate and youth unemployment rate within the district or districts. Those districts with high rates of school dropout and youth unemployment shall have priority in the selection process.
2. Socioeconomic demographics of the school district or districts. The districts selected shall reflect a broad cross section of economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
3. Commitment and involvement of private sector and education entities. Evidence of involvement from a wide variety of business, community, government, and school groups shall be submitted. Such evidence may include signed agreements and pledges of matching funds. Commitment to build and sustain the compact throughout the 5-year pilot period shall be demonstrated.
4. The potential effectiveness of the planning model and the procedures for joint goal setting and coordination. A comprehensive planning model shall be developed which shall reflect well-defined, quantifiable goals of school effectiveness, including, but not limited to, raising student achievement and reducing school dropouts and youth unemployment. This planning model shall include provisions for the ongoing review and monitoring of compact goals and activities through the use of advisory councils, the designation of persons for coordination of compact pursuits, and other such mechanisms.
5. Ability to evaluate and disseminate results. Plans shall be submitted for thorough evaluation of all activities and documentation of results in raising student achievement and reducing school dropouts and youth unemployment and for dissemination of the model to other school districts.
(d) From the district or consortium proposals received, the commissioner shall approve at least three proposals for participation in the program. In order to promote diversity and maximum potential for replication, one proposal shall be approved from districts with up to 5,000 students, one from districts with 5,001 to 25,000 students, and one from districts with over 25,000 students. At least one proposal shall represent a rural community.
(e) Each participating district or consortium shall submit annual reports of progress and evidence of effectiveness to the commissioner who shall review each pilot project individually and make recommendations to the Legislature for annual funding. At the end of the 5-year period each district shall submit a final report of all activities and evidence of effectiveness to both the commissioner and the Legislature.
(8) Partnership vocational education programs shall be those job-preparatory vocational education programs offered through signed partnership agreements between area technical centers and business, industry, or apprenticeship committees. Partnership vocational education programs are limited to:
(a) Apprenticeship programs approved pursuant to chapter 446.
(b) Cooperative education programs where instruction is provided, including required academic courses and related vocational instruction, by alternation of study in school with a job in any occupational field, provided that the two experiences must be planned and supervised by the school and employers so that each contributes to the student's education and employability.
(c) Courses provided through the area technical center in which the sole instructor is a full-time salaried employee of a business or industry whose teaching services are provided free to the school district, thus allowing the school district to provide the course at a lower cost per pupil.
(9)(a) There is hereby created the teacher/quest partnership program. This program establishes a new education partnership with business, industry, or nonprofit or government agencies for the purpose of providing teachers with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and improve their teaching skills in the areas of science, mathematics, and computer science.
(b) Teachers shall participate in a project in association with a business, industry, or agency partner. Teachers shall explore job-related science, mathematics, and computer skills, and the application of mathematical, scientific, and computing concepts to problems faced in business, industry, or agency settings. This experience will keep them current, provide them with a "real world" perspective and experiential knowledge, and enable them to develop resource contacts from the participating organizations who could be invited to participate in classroom demonstrations or other learning experiences.
(c) The Department of Education is authorized to distribute grants to school districts for teacher/quest partnership projects. Each project shall provide salary stipends to teachers for the summer recess at their regular rate of pay. Each school district and participating business, industry, or agency shall reach a contractual agreement which shall be included in a proposal submitted to the Department of Education. A business, industry, or agency shall agree to hire teachers, and teacher recipients shall make a commitment to continue teaching or repay the cost of the stipend. The proposed projects shall be judged on their originality and the potential transfer of knowledge to learning opportunities for students. All projects shall require the participating business, industry, or agency to match state dollars one for one.
(10) The State Board of Education is authorized to make rules as necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
(11) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting appropriate governmental agencies, vocational programs, postsecondary educational institutions, and other publicly funded entities from participating in partnership activities with the public schools.
History.--s. 20, ch. 87-329; s. 38, ch. 89-278; s. 8, ch. 89-298; s. 4, ch. 89-302; s. 37, ch. 92-136; s. 17, ch. 93-260; s. 47, ch. 95-280; s. 97, ch. 97-190; s. 16, ch. 99-243; s. 11, ch. 2000-331.
1Note.--Subparagraph (6)(b)7., listing "[v]ocational education," was deleted to conform to the directive of the Legislature in s. 16, ch. 94-232. That directive required editorial substitution of the term "career education" for the term "vocational education." Subparagraph (6)(b)6. already listed career education.