In order to provide a full range of programs to larger numbers of students, minimize duplication of services, and encourage the development of new programs and services: (1) School districts with 20,000 or fewer unweighted full-time equivalent students, developmental research (laboratory) schools established pursuant to s. 1002.32, and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind may enter into cooperative agreements to form a regional consortium service organization. Each regional consortium service organization shall provide, at a minimum, three of the following services: exceptional student education; teacher education centers; environmental education; federal grant procurement and coordination; data processing; health insurance; risk management insurance; staff development; purchasing; or planning and accountability.
(2)(a) Each regional consortium service organization that consists of four or more school districts is eligible to receive, through the Department of Education, an incentive grant of $50,000 per school district and eligible member to be used for the delivery of services within the participating school districts. The determination of services and use of such funds shall be established by the board of directors of the regional consortium service organization. The funds shall be distributed to each regional consortium service organization no later than 30 days following the release of the funds to the department.
(b) Application for incentive grants shall be made to the Commissioner of Education by July 30 of each year for distribution to qualifying regional consortium service organizations by January 1 of the fiscal year.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the appropriation for the 2010-2011 fiscal year may be less than $50,000 per school district and eligible member. If the amount appropriated is insufficient to provide $50,000, the funds available must be prorated among all eligible districts and members. This paragraph expires July 1, 2011.
(3) In order to economically provide programs and services to participating school districts and members, a regional consortium service organization may establish purchasing and bidding programs, including construction and construction management arrangements, in lieu of individual school district bid arrangements pursuant to policies exercised by its member districts. Participation in regional consortium service organization bids shall be accomplished by action of an individual district school board through a letter of intent to participate and shall be reflected in official district school board minutes.
(4) A regional consortium service organization board of directors may elect to establish a direct-support organization pursuant to s. 1001.453 which is independent of its fiscal agent district.