Section 229.808, Florida Statutes 2001
229.808 Annual nonpublic school survey.--
(1) The Department of Education shall organize, maintain, and annually update a database of educational institutions within the state coming within the provisions of this section. There shall be included in the database of each institution the name, address, and telephone number of the institution; the type of institution; the names of administrative officers; the enrollment by grade or special group (e.g. 1career education and exceptional child education); the number of graduates; the number of instructional and administrative personnel; the number of days the school is in session; and such data as may be needed to meet the provisions of ss. 228.092 and 232.021.
(2) For the purpose of organizing, maintaining, and updating this database, each nonpublic school shall annually execute and file a database survey form on a date designated by the Department of Education which shall include a notarized statement ascertaining that the owner of the nonpublic school has complied with the provisions of subsection (3). For the purpose of this section, "owner" means any individual who is the chief administrative officer of a nonpublic school. For the purpose of this section, a "nonpublic school" is defined as an individual, association, copartnership, or corporation, or department, division, or section of such organization, which designates itself as an educational center which includes kindergarten or a higher grade or as an elementary, secondary, business, technical, or trade school below college level or any organization which provides instructional services which meet the intent of s. 232.02 or which gives preemployment or supplementary training in technology or in fields of trade or industry or which offers academic, literary, or vocational training below college level, or any combination of the above, including an institution which performs the functions of the above schools through correspondence or extension, except those licensed under the provisions of chapter 246. This definition shall not include home education programs conducted in accordance with s. 232.0201.
(3)(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (8), each person who is an owner of a nonpublic school on July 1, 1990, and each person who establishes, purchases, or otherwise becomes an owner of a nonpublic school after such date shall, within 5 days of July 1, 1990, or 5 days of assuming ownership of a school, file with the Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints for state processing and checking for criminal background. The fingerprints shall be taken by an authorized law enforcement officer or an employee of the school who is trained to take fingerprints. The costs of fingerprinting, criminal records checking, and processing shall be borne by the applicant or nonpublic school. The result of the criminal records checking by the Department of Law Enforcement shall be forwarded to the owner of the nonpublic school and shall be made available for public inspection in the nonpublic school office as soon as it is received.
(b) It shall be unlawful for a person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude to own or operate a nonpublic school.
(c) An owner of a nonpublic school may require school employees to file a complete set of fingerprints with the Department of Law Enforcement for processing and criminal records checking. Findings from such processing and checking shall be reported to the owner for use in employment decisions.
(d) Owners or employees of nonpublic schools who have been fingerprinted pursuant to this subsection, s. 231.02, 2s. 402.3025, or s. 402.3055 shall not be required to be refingerprinted if they have not been unemployed or unassociated with a nonpublic school or child care facility for more than 90 days.
(e) Persons holding a valid Florida teaching certificate who have been fingerprinted pursuant to 3s. 231.1712 or s. 231.47 shall not be required to comply with the provisions of this subsection.
(4) The data inquiries to be included and answered in the survey required in subsection (2) shall be limited to matters set forth in subsection (1). The department shall furnish annually to each nonpublic school sufficient copies of this form.
(5) To ensure completeness and accuracy of the database, each existing nonpublic educational institution falling within the provisions of this section shall notify the Department of Education of any change in the name of the institution, the address, or the chief administrative officer. Each new institution shall notify the department of its establishment.
(6) Annually, the department shall make accessible to the public data on nonpublic education in this state. Such data shall include that collected pursuant to subsection (1) and from other sources.
(7) The failure of any institution to submit the annual database survey form and notarized statement of compliance with the provisions of subsection (3), as required by this section, shall be judged a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, proper authorities of such institution shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $500. Submission of data for a nonexistent school or an institution providing no instruction or training, the purpose of which is to defraud the public, is unlawful, and, upon conviction, the person or persons responsible therefor shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Persons found to be in violation of paragraph (3)(b) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(8) It is the intent of the Legislature not to regulate, control, approve, or accredit nonpublic educational institutions, but to create a database where current information may be obtained relative to the educational institutions in this state coming within the provisions of this section as a service to the public, to governmental agencies, and to other interested parties. It is not the intent of the Legislature to regulate, control, or monitor, expressly or implicitly, churches, their ministries, or religious instruction, freedoms, or rites. It is the intent of the Legislature that the annual submission of the database survey by a school shall not be used by that school to imply approval or accreditation by the Department of Education.
History.--ss. 1-4, ch. 63-549; s. 13, ch. 65-239; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 18, ch. 72-221; s. 49, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 79-177; s. 1, ch. 90-100; s. 13, ch. 91-105; s. 2, ch. 98-272.
1Note.--The term "career education" was substituted for the term "vocational education" by the editors pursuant to the directive of the Legislature in s. 16, ch. 94-232.
2Note.--Section 402.3025 contains no reference to fingerprinting.
3Note.--Repealed by s. 14, ch. 96-369.
Note.--Former s. 229.091; s. 229.101.