Section 229.0535, Florida Statutes 2001
229.0535 Authority to enforce school improvement.--It is the intent of the Legislature that all public schools be held accountable for students performing at acceptable levels. A system of school improvement and accountability that assesses student performance by school, identifies schools in which students are not making adequate progress toward state standards, institutes appropriate measures for enforcing improvement, and provides rewards and sanctions based on performance shall be the responsibility of the State Board of Education.
(1) Pursuant to Art. IX of the State Constitution prescribing the duty of the State Board of Education to supervise Florida's public school system and notwithstanding any other statutory provisions to the contrary, the State Board of Education shall intervene in the operation of a district school system when one or more schools in the school district have failed to make adequate progress for 2 school years in a 4-year period. For purposes of determining when a school is eligible for state board action and opportunity scholarships for its students, the terms "2 years in any 4-year period" and "2 years in a 4-year period" mean that in any year that a school has a grade of "F," the school is eligible for state board action and opportunity scholarships for its students if it also has had a grade of "F" in any of the previous 3 school years. Except as otherwise provided in s. 229.57(8), a performance rating based on data before the 1998-1999 school year data may not be included in a 4-year period. The state board may determine that the school district or school has not taken steps sufficient for students in the school to be academically well served. Considering recommendations of the Commissioner of Education, the state board shall recommend action to a district school board intended to improve educational services to students in each school that is designated as performance grade category "F." Recommendations for actions to be taken in the school district shall be made only after thorough consideration of the unique characteristics of a school, which shall include student mobility rates, the number and type of exceptional students enrolled in the school, and the availability of options for improved educational services. The state board shall adopt by rule steps to follow in this process. Such steps shall provide school districts sufficient time to improve student performance in schools and the opportunity to present evidence of assistance and interventions that the school board has implemented.
(2) The state board is specifically authorized to recommend one or more of the following actions to school boards to enable students in schools designated as performance grade category "F" to be academically well served by the public school system:
(a) Provide additional resources, change certain practices, and provide additional assistance if the state board determines the causes of inadequate progress to be related to school district policy or practice;
(b) Implement a plan that satisfactorily resolves the education equity problems in the school;
(c) Contract for the educational services of the school, or reorganize the school at the end of the school year under a new principal who is authorized to hire new staff and implement a plan that addresses the causes of inadequate progress;
(d) Allow parents of students in the school to send their children to another district school of their choice; or
(e) Other action appropriate to improve the school's performance.
(3) In recommending actions to school boards, the State Board of Education shall specify the length of time available to implement the recommended action. The state board may adopt rules to further specify how it may respond in specific circumstances. No action taken by the state board shall relieve a school from state accountability requirements.
(4) The State Board of Education is authorized to require the Department of Education or Comptroller to withhold any transfer of state funds to the school district if, within the timeframe specified in state board action, the school district has failed to comply with the action ordered to improve the district's low-performing schools. Withholding the transfer of funds shall occur only after all other recommended actions for school improvement have failed to improve performance. The State Board of Education may invoke the same penalty to any school board that fails to develop and implement a plan for assistance and intervention for low-performing schools as specified in s. 230.23(16)(c).
History.--s. 1, ch. 96-369; s. 47, ch. 97-190; s. 1, ch. 99-398.