December 03, 2020
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HB 1323

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to charter schools; amending s. 1002.33,
3F.S.; authorizing the reconstitution of an existing
4charter school; revising charter school purposes; revising
5the charter school application process including review,
6approval or denial, and appeal; revising provisions
7relating to a charter agreement, term, and renewal;
8revising causes for nonrenewal or termination of a
9charter; revising provisions relating to payment and
10reimbursement to a charter school by a school district;
11authorizing certain zoning and land use designations for
12certain charter school facilities; revising exemption from
13assessment of fees; providing for additional services to
14charter schools and revising administrative fee
15requirements; requiring a Department of Education study
16and report relating to the administrative fee; revising
17information provided to the public; establishing the
18Florida Charter School Accountability Authority and
19providing for appointment of an authority board of
20trustees; providing duties and responsibilities to
21disseminate best practices, to sponsor, evaluate, and
22oversee charter schools, and to provide charter school
23information to the department; authorizing receipt and
24expenditure of funds; amending s. 1012.01, F.S.; defining
25charter school instructional personnel; amending s.
261012.231, F.S.; providing that the salary career ladder
27for classroom teachers shall apply to charter school
28classroom teachers; amending s. 1012.74, F.S.; providing
29that educator professional liability insurance shall cover
30charter school personnel; amending s. 1013.62, F.S.;
31revising provisions relating to eligibility for and
32allocation of charter school capital outlay funding;
33revising purposes for which capital outlay funds may be
34used; providing an effective date.
36Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
38     Section 1.  Section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, is amended
39to read:
40     1002.33  Charter schools.--
41     (1)  AUTHORIZATION.--Charter schools shall be part of the
42state's program of public education. All charter schools in
43Florida are public schools. A charter school may be formed by
44creating a new school, or converting an existing public school
45to charter status, or reconstituting an existing charter school.
46A public school may not use the term charter in its name unless
47it has been approved under this section.
49     (a)  Charter schools in Florida shall be guided by the
50following principles:
51     1.  Meet high standards of student achievement while
52providing parents flexibility to choose among diverse
53educational opportunities within the state's public school
55     2.  Promote enhanced academic success and financial
56efficiency by aligning responsibility with accountability.
57     3.  Provide parents with sufficient information on whether
58their child is reading at grade level and whether the child
59gains at least a year's worth of learning for every year spent
60in the charter school.
61     (b)  Charter schools shall fulfill one or more of the
62following purposes:
63     1.  Improve student learning and academic achievement.
64     2.  Increase learning opportunities for all students, with
65special emphasis on low-performing students and reading.
66     3.  Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
67including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
68     4.  Encourage the use of innovative learning methods.
69     5.  Require the measurement of learning outcomes.
70     (c)  Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
71     1.  Create innovative measurement tools.
72     2.  Provide rigorous competition within the public school
73district to stimulate continual improvement in all public
75     3.  Expand the capacity of the public school system.
76     4.  Mitigate the educational impact created by the
77development of new residential dwelling units.
79     (a)  An application for a new charter school may be made by
80an individual, teachers, parents, a group of individuals, a
81municipality, or a legal entity organized under the laws of this
83     (b)  An application for a conversion charter school shall
84be made by the district school board, the principal, teachers,
85parents, and/or the school advisory council at an existing
86public school that has been in operation for at least 2 years
87prior to the application to convert., including A public school-
88within-a-school that is designated as a school by the district
89school board may also submit an application to convert to
90charter status. An application submitted proposing to convert an
91existing public school to a charter school shall demonstrate the
92support of at least 50 percent of the teachers employed at the
93school and 50 percent of the parents voting whose children are
94enrolled at the school, provided that a majority of the parents
95eligible to vote participate in the ballot process, according to
96rules adopted by the State Board of Education. A district school
97board denying an application for a conversion charter school
98shall provide notice of denial to the applicants in writing
99within 10 30 days after the meeting at which the district school
100board denied the application. The notice must specify the
101specific exact reasons for denial and must provide documentation
102supporting those reasons. A private school, parochial school, or
103home education program shall not be eligible for charter school
105     (4)  UNLAWFUL REPRISAL.--
106     (a)  No district school board, or district school board
107employee who has control over personnel actions, shall take
108unlawful reprisal against another district school board employee
109because that employee is either directly or indirectly involved
110with an application to establish a charter school. As used in
111this subsection, the term "unlawful reprisal" means an action
112taken by a district school board or a school system employee
113against an employee who is directly or indirectly involved in a
114lawful application to establish a charter school, which occurs
115as a direct result of that involvement, and which results in one
116or more of the following: disciplinary or corrective action;
117adverse transfer or reassignment, whether temporary or
118permanent; suspension, demotion, or dismissal; an unfavorable
119performance evaluation; a reduction in pay, benefits, or
120rewards; elimination of the employee's position absent of a
121reduction in workforce as a result of lack of moneys or work; or
122other adverse significant changes in duties or responsibilities
123that are inconsistent with the employee's salary or employment
124classification. The following procedures shall apply to an
125alleged unlawful reprisal that occurs as a consequence of an
126employee's direct or indirect involvement with an application to
127establish a charter school:
128     1.  Within 60 days after the date upon which a reprisal
129prohibited by this subsection is alleged to have occurred, an
130employee may file a complaint with the Department of Education.
131     2.  Within 3 working days after receiving a complaint under
132this section, the Department of Education shall acknowledge
133receipt of the complaint and provide copies of the complaint and
134any other relevant preliminary information available to each of
135the other parties named in the complaint, which parties shall
136each acknowledge receipt of such copies to the complainant.
137     3.  If the Department of Education determines that the
138complaint demonstrates reasonable cause to suspect that an
139unlawful reprisal has occurred, the Department of Education
140shall conduct an investigation to produce a fact-finding report.
141     4.  Within 90 days after receiving the complaint, the
142Department of Education shall provide the district school
143superintendent of the complainant's district and the complainant
144with a fact-finding report that may include recommendations to
145the parties or a proposed resolution of the complaint. The fact-
146finding report shall be presumed admissible in any subsequent or
147related administrative or judicial review.
148     5.  If the Department of Education determines that
149reasonable grounds exist to believe that an unlawful reprisal
150has occurred, is occurring, or is to be taken, and is unable to
151conciliate a complaint within 60 days after receipt of the fact-
152finding report, the Department of Education shall terminate the
153investigation. Upon termination of any investigation, the
154Department of Education shall notify the complainant and the
155district school superintendent of the termination of the
156investigation, providing a summary of relevant facts found
157during the investigation and the reasons for terminating the
158investigation. A written statement under this paragraph is
159presumed admissible as evidence in any judicial or
160administrative proceeding.
161     6.  The Department of Education shall either contract with
162the Division of Administrative Hearings under s. 120.65, or
163otherwise provide for a complaint for which the Department of
164Education determines reasonable grounds exist to believe that an
165unlawful reprisal has occurred, is occurring, or is to be taken,
166and is unable to conciliate, to be heard by a panel of impartial
167persons. Upon hearing the complaint, the panel shall make
168findings of fact and conclusions of law for a final decision by
169the Department of Education.
171It shall be an affirmative defense to any action brought
172pursuant to this section that the adverse action was predicated
173upon grounds other than, and would have been taken absent, the
174employee's exercise of rights protected by this section.
175     (b)  In any action brought under this section for which it
176is determined reasonable grounds exist to believe that an
177unlawful reprisal has occurred, is occurring, or is to be taken,
178the relief shall include the following:
179     1.  Reinstatement of the employee to the same position held
180before the unlawful reprisal was commenced, or to an equivalent
181position, or payment of reasonable front pay as alternative
183     2.  Reinstatement of the employee's full fringe benefits
184and seniority rights, as appropriate.
185     3.  Compensation, if appropriate, for lost wages, benefits,
186or other lost remuneration caused by the unlawful reprisal.
187     4.  Payment of reasonable costs, including attorney's fees,
188to a substantially prevailing employee, or to the prevailing
189employer if the employee filed a frivolous action in bad faith.
190     5.  Issuance of an injunction, if appropriate, by a court
191of competent jurisdiction.
192     6.  Temporary reinstatement to the employee's former
193position or to an equivalent position, pending the final outcome
194of the complaint, if it is determined that the action was not
195made in bad faith or for a wrongful purpose, and did not occur
196after a district school board's initiation of a personnel action
197against the employee that includes documentation of the
198employee's violation of a disciplinary standard or performance
200     (5)  SPONSOR; DUTIES.--
201     (a)  Sponsoring entities.--
202     1.  A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
203the county over which the district school board has
205     2.  A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
206created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
207school's sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
209     3.  The Florida Charter School Accountability Authority may
210sponsor a charter school.
211     (b)  Sponsor duties.--
212     1.  The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter school
213in its progress toward the goals established in the charter.
214     2.  The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
215of the charter school.
216     3.  The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
217before the applicant has secured space, equipment, or personnel,
218if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for it to raise
219working funds capital.
220     4.  The sponsor's policies shall not apply to a charter
221school, unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and the
222charter school.
223     5.  The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
224and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
226     6.  The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
227participates in the state's education accountability system. If
228a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
229the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
230to the Department of Education.
232A community college may work with the school district or school
233districts in its designated service area to develop charter
234schools that offer secondary education. These charter schools
235must include an option for students to receive an associate
236degree upon high school graduation. District school boards shall
237cooperate with and assist the community college on the charter
238application. Community college applications for charter schools
239are not subject to the time deadlines outlined in subsection (6)
240and may be approved by the district school board at any time
241during the year. Community colleges shall not report FTE for any
242students who receive FTE funding through the Florida Education
243Finance Program.
244     (6)  APPLICATION PROCESS AND REVIEW.--Charter school
245Beginning September 1, 2003, applications are subject to the
246following requirements:
247     (a)  A person or entity wishing to open a charter school
248shall prepare an application that:
249     1.  Demonstrates how the school will use the guiding
250principles and meet the statutorily defined purpose of a charter
252     2.  Provides a detailed curriculum plan that illustrates
253how students will be provided services to attain the Sunshine
254State Standards.
255     3.  Contains goals and objectives for improving student
256learning and measuring that improvement. These goals and
257objectives must indicate how much academic improvement students
258are expected to show each year, how success will be evaluated,
259and the specific results to be attained through instruction.
260     4.  Describes the reading curriculum and differentiated
261strategies that will be used for students reading at grade level
262or higher and a separate curriculum and strategies for students
263who are reading below grade level. A sponsor shall deny a
264charter if the school does not propose a reading curriculum that
265is consistent with effective teaching strategies that are
266grounded in scientifically based reading research.
267     5.  Contains an annual financial plan for each year
268requested by the charter for operation of the school for up to 5
269years. This plan must contain anticipated fund balances based on
270revenue projections, a spending plan based on projected revenues
271and expenses, and a description of controls that will safeguard
272finances and projected enrollment trends.
273     (b)  A district school board shall receive and review all
274applications for a charter school. Beginning with the 2005-2006
275school year, a district school board shall receive and consider
276charter school applications received on or before June September
2771 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened at the
278beginning of the school district's next school year, or to be
279opened at a time agreed to by the applicant and the district
280school board. A district school board may receive applications
281later than this date if it chooses. A sponsor may not charge an
282applicant for a charter any fee for the processing or
283consideration of an application, and a sponsor may not base its
284consideration or approval of an application upon the promise of
285future payment of any kind.
286     1.  In order to facilitate an accurate budget projection
287process, a district school board shall be held harmless for FTE
288students who are not included in the FTE projection due to
289approval of charter school applications after the FTE projection
290deadline. In a further effort to facilitate an accurate budget
291projection, within 15 calendar days after receipt of a charter
292school application, a district school board or other sponsor
293shall report to the Department of Education the name of the
294applicant entity, the proposed charter school location, and its
295projected FTE.
296     2.  In order to ensure fiscal responsibility, an
297application for a charter school shall include a full accounting
298of expected assets, a projection of expected sources and amounts
299of income, including income derived from projected student
300enrollments and from community support, and an expense
301projection that includes full accounting of the costs of
302operation, including start-up costs.
303     3.  A district school board shall by a majority vote
304approve or deny an application no later than 60 calendar days
305after the application is received, unless the district school
306board and the applicant mutually agree in writing to temporarily
307postpone the vote for an additional 30 days to a specific date,
308at which time the district school board shall by a majority vote
309approve or deny the application. If the district school board
310fails to act on the application, an applicant may appeal to the
311State Board of Education as provided in paragraph (c). If an
312application is denied, the district school board shall, within
31310 calendar days, articulate in writing the specific reasons for
314based upon good cause supporting its denial of the charter
315application and must provide documentation supporting those
317     4.  For budget projection purposes, the district school
318board or other sponsor shall report to the Department of
319Education the approval or denial of a charter application within
32010 calendar days after such approval or denial. In the event of
321approval, the report to the Department of Education shall
322include the final projected FTE for the approved charter school.
323     5.  Upon approval of a charter application, the initial
324school year startup shall commence with the beginning of the
325public school calendar for the district in which the charter is
326granted unless the district school board allows a waiver of this
327provision for good cause.
328     (c)  An applicant may appeal any denial of that applicant's
329application or failure to act on an application to the State
330Board of Education no later than 30 calendar days after receipt
331of the district school board's decision or failure to act and
332shall notify the district school board of its appeal. Any
333response of the district school board shall be submitted to the
334State Board of Education within 30 calendar days after
335notification of the appeal. Upon receipt of notification from
336the State Board of Education that a charter school applicant is
337filing an appeal, the Commissioner of Education shall convene a
338meeting of the Charter School Appeal Commission to study and
339make recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding
340its pending decision about the appeal. The commission shall
341forward its recommendation to the state board no later than 7
342calendar days prior to the date on which the appeal is to be
343heard. The State Board of Education shall by majority vote
344accept or reject the decision of the district school board no
345later than 90 calendar days after an appeal is filed in
346accordance with State Board of Education rule. The Charter
347School Appeal Commission may reject an appeal submission for
348failure to comply with procedural rules governing the appeals
349process. The rejection shall describe the submission errors. The
350appellant may have up to 15 calendar days from notice of
351rejection to resubmit an appeal that meets requirements of State
352Board of Education rule. An application for appeal submitted
353subsequent to such rejection shall be considered timely if the
354original appeal was filed within 30 calendar days after receipt
355of notice of the specific reasons for the district school
356board's denial of the charter application. The State Board of
357Education shall remand the application to the district school
358board with its written decision that the district school board
359approve or deny the application. The district school board shall
360implement the decision of the State Board of Education. The
361decision of the State Board of Education is not subject to the
362provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 120.
363     (d)  The district school board shall act upon the decision
364of the State Board of Education within 30 calendar days after it
365is received. The State Board of Education's decision is a final
366action subject to judicial review.
367     (e)1.  A Charter School Appeal Commission is established to
368assist the commissioner and the State Board of Education with a
369fair and impartial review of appeals by applicants whose charter
370applications have been denied, whose charter contracts have not
371been renewed or have been terminated by their sponsors, or whose
372disputes over contract negotiations have not been resolved
373through mediation.
374     2.  The Charter School Appeal Commission may receive copies
375of the appeal documents forwarded to the State Board of
376Education, review the documents, gather other applicable
377information regarding the appeal, and make a written
378recommendation to the commissioner. The recommendation must
379state whether the appeal should be upheld or denied and include
380the reasons for the recommendation being offered. The
381commissioner shall forward the recommendation to the State Board
382of Education no later than 7 calendar days prior to the date on
383which the appeal is to be heard. The state board must consider
384the commission's recommendation in making its decision, but is
385not bound by the recommendation. The decision of the Charter
386School Appeal Commission is not subject to the provisions of the
387Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 120.
388     3.  The commissioner shall appoint the members of the
389Charter School Appeal Commission. Members shall serve without
390compensation but may be reimbursed for travel and per diem
391expenses in conjunction with their service. One-half of the
392members must represent currently operating charter schools, and
393one-half of the members must represent school districts. The
394commissioner or a named designee shall chair the Charter School
395Appeal Commission.
396     4.  The chair shall convene meetings of the commission and
397shall ensure that the written recommendations are completed and
398forwarded in a timely manner. In cases where the commission
399cannot reach a decision, the chair shall make the written
400recommendation with justification, noting that the decision was
401rendered by the chair.
402     5.  Commission members shall thoroughly review the
403materials presented to them from the appellant and the sponsor.
404The commission may request information to clarify the
405documentation presented to it. In the course of its review, the
406commission may facilitate the postponement of an appeal in those
407cases where additional time and communication may negate the
408need for a formal appeal and both parties agree, in writing, to
409postpone the appeal to the State Board of Education. A new date
410certain for the appeal shall then be set based upon the rules
411and procedures of the State Board of Education. Commission
412members shall provide a written recommendation to the state
413board as to whether the appeal should be upheld or denied. A
414fact-based justification for the recommendation must be
415included. The chair must ensure that the written recommendation
416is submitted to the State Board of Education members no later
417than 7 calendar days prior to the date on which the appeal is to
418be heard. Both parties in the case shall also be provided a copy
419of the recommendation.
420     (f)  The Department of Education may provide technical
421assistance to an applicant upon written request.
422     (g)  In considering charter applications for a lab school,
423a state university shall consult with the district school board
424of the county in which the lab school is located. The decision
425of a state university may be appealed pursuant to the procedure
426established in this subsection.
427     (h)  A decision of the Florida Charter School
428Accountability Authority with respect to application for a
429charter school may be appealed pursuant to the procedure
430established in this subsection.
431     (i)(h)  The terms and conditions for the operation of a
432charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
433applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
434The sponsor shall not impose unreasonable rules or regulations
435that violate the intent of giving charter schools greater
436flexibility to meet educational goals. The applicant and sponsor
437shall have 3 6 months in which to mutually agree to the
438provisions of the charter. The charter must be provided to the
439charter school at least 7 calendar days prior to the date on
440which the charter is scheduled to be heard by the sponsor. The
441Department of Education shall provide mediation services for any
442dispute regarding this section subsequent to the approval of a
443charter application and for any dispute relating to the approved
444charter, except disputes regarding charter school application
445denials. If the Commissioner of Education determines that the
446dispute cannot be settled through mediation, the dispute may be
447appealed to an administrative law judge appointed by the
448Division of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law
449judge may rule on issues of equitable treatment of the charter
450school as a public school, whether proposed provisions of the
451charter violate the intended flexibility granted charter schools
452by statute, or on any other matter regarding this section except
453a charter school application denial, a charter termination, or a
454charter nonrenewal and shall award the prevailing party
455reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred to be paid by the
456losing party. The costs of the administrative hearing shall be
457paid by the party whom the administrative law judge rules
459     (7)  CHARTER.--The major issues involving the operation of
460a charter school shall be considered in advance and written into
461the charter. The charter shall be signed by the governing body
462of the charter school and the sponsor, following a public
463hearing to ensure community input.
464     (a)  The charter shall address, and criteria for approval
465of the charter shall be based on:
466     1.  The school's mission, the students to be served, and
467the ages and grades to be included.
468     2.  The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods
469to be used, any distinctive instructional techniques to be
470employed, and identification and acquisition of appropriate
471technologies needed to improve educational and administrative
472performance which include a means for promoting safe, ethical,
473and appropriate uses of technology which comply with legal and
474professional standards. The charter shall ensure that reading is
475a primary focus of the curriculum and that resources are
476provided to identify and provide specialized instruction for
477students who are reading below grade level. The curriculum and
478instructional strategies for reading must be consistent with the
479Sunshine State Standards and grounded in scientifically based
480reading research.
481     3.  The current incoming baseline standard of student
482academic achievement, the outcomes to be achieved, and the
483method of measurement that will be used. The criteria listed in
484this subparagraph shall include a detailed description for each
485of the following:
486     a.  How the baseline student academic achievement levels
487and prior rates of academic progress will be established.
488     b.  How these baseline rates will be compared to rates of
489academic progress achieved by these same students while
490attending the charter school.
491     c.  To the extent possible, how these rates of progress
492will be evaluated and compared with rates of progress of other
493closely comparable student populations.
495The district school board is required to provide academic
496student performance data to charter schools for each of their
497students coming from the district school system, as well as
498rates of academic progress of comparable student populations in
499the district school system.
500     4.  The methods used to identify the educational strengths
501and needs of students and how well educational goals and
502performance standards are met by students attending the charter
503school. Included in the methods is a means for the charter
504school to ensure accountability to its constituents by analyzing
505student performance data and by evaluating the effectiveness and
506efficiency of its major educational programs. Students in
507charter schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the
508statewide assessment program created under s. 1008.22.
509     5.  In secondary charter schools, a method for determining
510that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in
511s. 1003.43.
512     6.  A method for resolving conflicts between the governing
513body of the charter school and the sponsor.
514     7.  The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures,
515including the school's code of student conduct.
516     8.  The ways by which the school will achieve a
517racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
518within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
519same school district.
520     9.  The financial and administrative management of the
521school, including a reasonable demonstration of the professional
522experience or competence of those individuals or organizations
523applying to operate the charter school or those hired or
524retained to perform such professional services and the
525description of clearly delineated responsibilities and the
526policies and practices needed to effectively manage the charter
527school. A description of internal audit procedures and
528establishment of controls to ensure that financial resources are
529properly managed must be included. Both public sector and
530private sector professional experience shall be equally valid in
531such a consideration.
532     10.  The asset and liability projections required in the
533application which are incorporated into the charter and which
534shall be compared with information provided in the annual report
535of the charter school. The charter shall ensure that, if a
536charter school internal audit reveals a deficit financial
537position, the auditors are required to notify the charter school
538governing board, the sponsor, and the Department of Education.
539The internal auditor shall report such findings in the form of
540an exit interview to the principal or the principal
541administrator of the charter school and the chair of the
542governing board within 7 working days after finding the deficit
543position. A final report shall be provided to the entire
544governing board, the sponsor, and the Department of Education
545within 14 working days after the exit interview.
546     11.  A description of procedures that identify various
547risks and provide for a comprehensive approach to reduce the
548impact of losses; plans to ensure the safety and security of
549students and staff; plans to identify, minimize, and protect
550others from violent or disruptive student behavior; and the
551manner in which the school will be insured, including whether or
552not the school will be required to have liability insurance,
553and, if so, the terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of
555     12.  The term of the charter which shall provide for
556cancellation of the charter if insufficient progress has been
557made in attaining the student achievement objectives of the
558charter and if it is not likely that such objectives can be
559achieved before expiration of the charter. The initial term of a
560charter shall be for 3, 4, or 5 years. In order to facilitate
561access to long-term financial resources for charter school
562construction, charter schools that are operated by a
563municipality or other public entity as provided by law are
564eligible for up to a 15-year charter, subject to approval by the
565district school board. A charter lab school is eligible for a
566charter for a term of up to 15 years. In addition, to facilitate
567access to long-term financial resources for charter school
568construction, charter schools that are operated by a private,
569not-for-profit, s. 501(c)(3) status corporation are eligible for
570up to a 15-year 10-year charter, subject to approval by the
571district school board. Such long-term charters remain subject to
572annual review and may be terminated during the term of the
573charter, but only for specific good cause according to the
574provisions set forth in subsection (8).
575     13.  The facilities to be used and their location.
576     14.  The qualifications to be required of the teachers and
577the potential strategies used to recruit, hire, train, and
578retain qualified staff to achieve best value.
579     15.  The governance structure of the school, including the
580status of the charter school as a public or private employer as
581required in paragraph (12)(i).
582     16.  A timetable for implementing the charter which
583addresses the implementation of each element thereof and the
584date by which the charter shall be awarded in order to meet this
586     17.  In the case of an existing public school being
587converted to charter status, alternative arrangements for
588current students who choose not to attend the charter school and
589for current teachers who choose not to teach in the charter
590school after conversion in accordance with the existing
591collective bargaining agreement or district school board rule in
592the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. However,
593alternative arrangements shall not be required for current
594teachers who choose not to teach in a charter lab school, except
595as authorized by the employment policies of the state university
596which grants the charter to the lab school.
597     (b)  A charter may be renewed every 5 school years,
598provided that a program review demonstrates that the criteria in
599paragraph (a) have been successfully accomplished and that none
600of the grounds for nonrenewal established by paragraph (8)(a)
601has been documented. In order to facilitate long-term financing
602for charter school construction, charter schools operating for a
603minimum of 2 years and demonstrating exemplary academic
604programming and fiscal management shall be granted are eligible
605for a 15-year charter renewal. Such long-term charter is subject
606to annual review and may be terminated during the term of the
608     (c)  A charter may be modified during its initial term or
609any renewal term upon the recommendation of the sponsor or the
610charter school governing board and the approval of both parties
611to the agreement.
613     (a)  At the end of the term of a charter, the sponsor may
614choose not to renew the charter for any of the following
616     1.  Failure to participate in the state's education
617accountability system created in s. 1008.31, as required in this
618section, or failure to meet the requirements for student
619performance stated in the charter.
620     2.  Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
622     3.  Violation of law.
623     4.  Determination by the sponsor that the health, safety,
624or welfare of the students is threatened Other good cause shown.
625     (b)  During the term of a charter, the sponsor may
626terminate the charter for any of the grounds listed in paragraph
628     (c)  At least 90 days prior to renewing or terminating a
629charter, the sponsor shall notify the governing body of the
630school of the proposed action in writing. The notice shall state
631in reasonable detail the grounds for the proposed action and
632stipulate that the school's governing body may, within 14
633calendar days after receiving the notice, request an informal
634hearing before the sponsor. The sponsor shall conduct the
635informal hearing within 30 calendar days after receiving a
636written request. The charter school's governing body may, within
63714 calendar days after receiving the sponsor's decision to
638terminate or refuse to renew the charter, appeal the decision
639pursuant to the procedure established in subsection (6).
640     (d)  A charter may be terminated immediately if the sponsor
641determines that good cause has been shown or if the health,
642safety, or welfare of the students is threatened. The school
643district in which the charter school is located shall assume
644operation of the school under these circumstances. The charter
645school's governing board may, within 14 days after receiving the
646sponsor's decision to terminate the charter, appeal the decision
647pursuant to the procedure established in subsection (6).
648     (e)  When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
649school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under
650which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public
651funds, except for capital outlay funds, from the charter school
652shall revert to the sponsor district school board. Capital
653outlay funds provided pursuant to s. 1013.62 that are
654unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed
655among eligible charter schools. In the event a charter school is
656dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all district school board
657property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased
658with public funds shall automatically revert to full ownership
659by the district school board, subject to complete satisfaction
660of any lawful liens or encumbrances. Any unencumbered public
661funds from the charter school, district school board property
662and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with
663public funds, or financial or other records pertaining to the
664charter school, in the possession of any person, entity, or
665holding company, other than the charter school, shall be held in
666trust upon the district school board's request, until any appeal
667status is resolved.
668     (f)  If a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the
669charter school is responsible for all debts of the charter
670school. The district may not assume the debt from any contract
671for services made between the governing body of the school and a
672third party, except for a debt that is previously detailed and
673agreed upon in writing by both the district and the governing
674body of the school and that may not reasonably be assumed to
675have been satisfied by the district.
676     (g)  If a charter is not renewed or is terminated, a
677student who attended the school may apply to, and shall be
678enrolled in, another public school. Normal application deadlines
679shall be disregarded under such circumstances.
681     (a)  A charter school shall be nonsectarian in its
682programs, admission policies, employment practices, and
684     (b)  A charter school shall admit students as provided in
685subsection (10).
686     (c)  A charter school shall be accountable to its sponsor
687for performance as provided in subsection (7).
688     (d)  A charter school shall not charge tuition or
689registration fees, except those fees normally charged by other
690public schools. However, a charter lab school may charge a
691student activity and service fee as authorized by s. 1002.32(5).
692     (e)  A charter school shall meet all applicable state and
693local health, safety, and civil rights requirements.
694     (f)  A charter school shall not violate the
695antidiscrimination provisions of s. 1000.05.
696     (g)  A charter school shall provide for an annual financial
697audit in accordance with s. 218.39.
698     (h)  No organization shall hold more than 25 15 charters
700     (i)  In order to provide financial information that is
701comparable to that reported for other public schools, charter
702schools are to maintain all financial records which constitute
703their accounting system:
704     1.  In accordance with the accounts and codes prescribed in
705the most recent issuance of the publication titled "Financial
706and Program Cost Accounting and Reporting for Florida Schools";
708     2.  At the discretion of the charter school governing
709board, a charter school may elect to follow generally accepted
710accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, but must
711reformat this information for reporting according to this
714Charter schools are to provide annual financial report and
715program cost report information in the state-required formats
716for inclusion in district reporting in compliance with s.
7171011.60(1). Charter schools that are operated by a municipality
718or are a component unit of a parent nonprofit organization may
719use the accounting system of the municipality or the parent but
720must reformat this information for reporting according to this
722     (j)  The governing board of the charter school shall
723annually adopt and maintain an operating budget.
724     (k)  The governing body of the charter school shall
725exercise continuing oversight over charter school operations.
726     (l)  The governing body of the charter school shall report
727its progress annually to its sponsor, which shall forward the
728report to the Commissioner of Education at the same time as
729other annual school accountability reports. The Department of
730Education shall include in its compilation a notation if a
731school failed to file its report by the deadline established by
732the department. The report shall include at least the following
734     1.  Student achievement performance data, including the
735information required for the annual school report and the
736education accountability system governed by ss. 1008.31 and
7371008.345. Charter schools are subject to the same accountability
738requirements as other public schools, including reports of
739student achievement information that links baseline student data
740to the school's performance projections identified in the
741charter. The charter school shall identify reasons for any
742difference between projected and actual student performance.
743     2.  Financial status of the charter school which must
744include revenues and expenditures at a level of detail that
745allows for analysis of the ability to meet financial obligations
746and timely repayment of debt.
747     3.  Documentation of the facilities in current use and any
748planned facilities for use by the charter school for instruction
749of students, administrative functions, or investment purposes.
750     4.  Descriptive information about the charter school's
751personnel, including salary and benefit levels of charter school
752employees, the proportion of instructional personnel who hold
753professional or temporary certificates, and the proportion of
754instructional personnel teaching in-field or out-of-field.
755     (m)  A charter school shall not levy taxes or issue bonds
756secured by tax revenues.
757     (n)  A charter school shall provide instruction for at
758least the number of days required by law for other public
759schools, and may provide instruction for additional days.
760     (10)  ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.--
761     (a)  A charter school shall be open to any student covered
762in an interdistrict agreement or residing in the school district
763in which the charter school is located; however, in the case of
764a charter lab school, the charter lab school shall be open to
765any student eligible to attend the lab school as provided in s.
7661002.32 or who resides in the school district in which the
767charter lab school is located. Any eligible student shall be
768allowed interdistrict transfer to attend a charter school when
769based on good cause.
770     (b)  The charter school shall enroll an eligible student
771who submits a timely application, unless the number of
772applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade
773level, or building. In such case, all applicants shall have an
774equal chance of being admitted through a random selection
776     (c)  When a public school converts to charter status,
777enrollment preference shall be given to students who would have
778otherwise attended that public school.
779     (d)  A charter school may give enrollment preference to the
780following student populations:
781     1.  Students who are siblings of a student enrolled in the
782charter school.
783     2.  Students who are the children of a member of the
784governing board of the charter school.
785     3.  Students who are the children of an employee of the
786charter school.
787     (e)  A charter school may limit the enrollment process only
788to target the following student populations:
789     1.  Students within specific age groups or grade levels.
790     2.  Students considered at risk of dropping out of school
791or academic failure. Such students shall include exceptional
792education students.
793     3.  Students enrolling in a charter school-in-the-workplace
794or charter school-in-a-municipality established pursuant to
795subsection (15).
796     4.  Students residing within a reasonable distance of the
797charter school, as described in paragraph (20)(c). Such students
798shall be subject to a random lottery and to the racial/ethnic
799balance provisions described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. or any
800federal provisions that require a school to achieve a
801racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community it serves or
802within the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the
803same school district.
804     5.  Students who meet reasonable academic, artistic, or
805other eligibility standards established by the charter school
806and included in the charter school application and charter or,
807in the case of existing charter schools, standards that are
808consistent with the school's mission and purpose. Such standards
809shall be in accordance with current state law and practice in
810public schools and may not discriminate against otherwise
811qualified individuals.
812     6.  Students articulating from one charter school to
813another pursuant to an articulation agreement between the
814charter schools that has been approved by the sponsor.
815     (f)  Students with handicapping conditions and students
816served in English for Speakers of Other Languages programs shall
817have an equal opportunity of being selected for enrollment in a
818charter school.
819     (g)  A student may withdraw from a charter school at any
820time and enroll in another public school as determined by
821district school board rule.
822     (h)  The capacity of the charter school shall be determined
823annually by the governing board, in conjunction with the
824sponsor, of the charter school in consideration of the factors
825identified in this subsection.
827ACTIVITIES.--A charter school student is eligible to participate
828in an interscholastic extracurricular activity at the public
829school to which the student would be otherwise assigned to
830attend pursuant to s. 1006.15(3)(d).
832     (a)  A charter school shall select its own employees. A
833charter school may contract with its sponsor for the services of
834personnel employed by the sponsor.
835     (b)  Charter school employees shall have the option to
836bargain collectively. Employees may collectively bargain as a
837separate unit or as part of the existing district collective
838bargaining unit as determined by the structure of the charter
840     (c)  The employees of a conversion charter school shall
841remain public employees for all purposes, unless such employees
842choose not to do so.
843     (d)  The teachers at a charter school may choose to be part
844of a professional group that subcontracts with the charter
845school to operate the instructional program under the auspices
846of a partnership or cooperative that they collectively own.
847Under this arrangement, the teachers would not be public
849     (e)  Employees of a school district may take leave to
850accept employment in a charter school upon the approval of the
851district school board. While employed by the charter school and
852on leave that is approved by the district school board, the
853employee may retain seniority accrued in that school district
854and may continue to be covered by the benefit programs of that
855school district, if the charter school and the district school
856board agree to this arrangement and its financing. School
857districts shall not require resignations of teachers desiring to
858teach in a charter school. This paragraph shall not prohibit a
859district school board from approving alternative leave
860arrangements consistent with chapter 1012.
861     (f)  Teachers employed by or under contract to a charter
862school shall be certified as required by chapter 1012. A charter
863school governing board may employ or contract with skilled
864selected noncertified personnel to provide instructional
865services or to assist instructional staff members as education
866paraprofessionals in the same manner as defined in chapter 1012,
867and as provided by State Board of Education rule for charter
868school governing boards. A charter school may not knowingly
869employ an individual to provide instructional services or to
870serve as an education paraprofessional if the individual's
871certification or licensure as an educator is suspended or
872revoked by this or any other state. A charter school may not
873knowingly employ an individual who has resigned from a school
874district in lieu of disciplinary action with respect to child
875welfare or safety, or who has been dismissed for just cause by
876any school district with respect to child welfare or safety. The
877qualifications of teachers shall be disclosed to parents.
878     (g)  A charter school shall employ or contract with
879employees who have undergone background screening as provided in
880s. 1012.32. Members of the governing board of the charter school
881shall also undergo background screening in a manner similar to
882that provided in s. 1012.32.
883     (h)  For the purposes of tort liability, the governing body
884and employees of a charter school shall be governed by s.
886     (i)  A charter school shall organize as, or be operated by,
887a nonprofit organization. A charter school may be operated by a
888municipality or other public entity as provided for by law. As
889such, the charter school may be either a private or a public
890employer. As a public employer, a charter school may participate
891in the Florida Retirement System upon application and approval
892as a "covered group" under s. 121.021(34). If a charter school
893participates in the Florida Retirement System, the charter
894school employees shall be compulsory members of the Florida
895Retirement System. As either a private or a public employer, a
896charter school may contract for services with an individual or
897group of individuals who are organized as a partnership or a
898cooperative. Individuals or groups of individuals who contract
899their services to the charter school are not public employees.
900     (13)  CHARTER SCHOOL COOPERATIVES.--Charter schools may
901enter into cooperative agreements to form charter school
902cooperative organizations that may provide the following
903services: charter school planning and development, direct
904instructional services, and contracts with charter school
905governing boards to provide personnel administrative services,
906payroll services, human resource management, evaluation and
907assessment services, teacher preparation, and professional
911TAXING POWER NOT TO BE PLEDGED.--Any arrangement entered into to
912borrow or otherwise secure funds for a charter school authorized
913in this section from a source other than the state or a school
914district shall indemnify the state and the school district from
915any and all liability, including, but not limited to, financial
916responsibility for the payment of the principal or interest. Any
917loans, bonds, or other financial agreements are not obligations
918of the state or the school district but are obligations of the
919charter school authority and are payable solely from the sources
920of funds pledged by such agreement. The credit or taxing power
921of the state or the school district shall not be pledged and no
922debts shall be payable out of any moneys except those of the
923legal entity in possession of a valid charter approved by a
924district school board pursuant to this section.
927     (a)  In order to increase business partnerships in
928education, to reduce school and classroom overcrowding
929throughout the state, and to offset the high costs for
930educational facilities construction, the Legislature intends to
931encourage the formation of business partnership schools or
932satellite learning centers and municipal-operated schools
933through charter school status.
934     (b)  A charter school-in-the-workplace may be established
935when a business partner provides the school facility to be used;
936enrolls students based upon a random lottery that involves all
937of the children of employees of that business or corporation who
938are seeking enrollment, as provided for in subsection (10); and
939enrolls students according to the racial/ethnic balance
940provisions described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. Any portion of a
941facility used for a public charter school shall be exempt from
942ad valorem taxes, as provided for in s. 1013.54, for the
943duration of its use as a public school.
944     (c)  A charter school-in-a-municipality designation may be
945granted to a municipality that possesses a charter; enrolls
946students based upon a random lottery that involves all of the
947children of the residents of that municipality who are seeking
948enrollment, as provided for in subsection (10); and enrolls
949students according to the racial/ethnic balance provisions
950described in subparagraph (7)(a)8. When a municipality has
951submitted charter applications for the establishment of a
952charter school feeder pattern, consisting of elementary, middle,
953and senior high schools, and each individual charter application
954is approved by the district school board, such schools shall
955then be designated as one charter school for all purposes listed
956pursuant to this section. Any portion of the land and facility
957used for a public charter school shall be exempt from ad valorem
958taxes, as provided for in s. 1013.54, for the duration of its
959use as a public school.
960     (d)  As used in this subsection, the terms "business
961partner" or "municipality" may include more than one business or
962municipality to form a charter school-in-the-workplace or
963charter school-in-a-municipality.
965     (a)  A charter school shall operate in accordance with its
966charter and shall be exempt from all statutes in chapters 1000-
9671013. However, a charter school shall be in compliance with the
968following statutes in chapters 1000-1013:
969     1.  Those statutes specifically applying to charter
970schools, including this section.
971     2.  Those statutes pertaining to the student assessment
972program and school grading system.
973     3.  Those statutes pertaining to the provision of services
974to students with disabilities.
975     4.  Those statutes pertaining to civil rights, including s.
9761000.05, relating to discrimination.
977     5.  Those statutes pertaining to student health, safety,
978and welfare.
979     (b)  Additionally, a charter school shall be in compliance
980with the following statutes:
981     1.  Section 286.011, relating to public meetings and
982records, public inspection, and criminal and civil penalties.
983     2.  Chapter 119, relating to public records.
984     (17)  FUNDING.--Students enrolled in a charter school,
985regardless of the sponsorship, shall be funded as if they are in
986a basic program or a special program, the same as students
987enrolled in other public schools in the school district. Funding
988for a charter lab school shall be as provided in s. 1002.32.
989     (a)  Each charter school shall report its student
990enrollment to the district school board as required in s.
9911011.62, and in accordance with the definitions in s. 1011.61.
992The district school board shall include each charter school's
993enrollment in the district's report of student enrollment. All
994charter schools submitting student record information required
995by the Department of Education shall comply with the Department
996of Education's guidelines for electronic data formats for such
997data, and all districts shall accept electronic data that
998complies with the Department of Education's electronic format.
999     (b)  The basis for the agreement for funding students
1000enrolled in a charter school shall be the sum of the school
1001district's operating funds from the Florida Education Finance
1002Program as provided in s. 1011.62 and the General Appropriations
1003Act, including gross state and local funds, discretionary
1004lottery funds, and funds from the school district's current
1005operating discretionary millage levy; divided by total funded
1006weighted full-time equivalent students in the school district;
1007multiplied by the weighted full-time equivalent students for the
1008charter school. Charter schools whose students or programs meet
1009the eligibility criteria in law shall be entitled to their
1010proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the
1011total funds available in the Florida Education Finance Program
1012by the Legislature, including transportation. Total funding for
1013each charter school shall be recalculated during the year to
1014reflect the revised calculations under the Florida Education
1015Finance Program by the state and the actual weighted full-time
1016equivalent students reported by the charter school during the
1017full-time equivalent student survey periods designated by the
1018Commissioner of Education.
1019     (c)  If the district school board is providing programs or
1020services to students funded by federal funds, any eligible
1021students enrolled in charter schools in the school district
1022shall be provided federal funds for the same level of service
1023provided students in the schools operated by the district school
1024board. Pursuant to provisions of 20 U.S.C. 8061 s. 10306, all
1025charter schools shall receive all federal funding for which the
1026school is otherwise eligible, including Title I funding, not
1027later than 5 months after the charter school first opens and
1028within 5 months after any subsequent expansion of enrollment.
1029     (d)  District school boards shall make every effort to
1030ensure that charter schools receive timely and efficient
1031reimbursement to charter schools, including processing paperwork
1032required to access special state and federal funding for which
1033they may be eligible. The district school board may distribute
1034funds to a charter school for up to 3 months based on the
1035projected full-time equivalent student membership of the charter
1036school. Thereafter, the results of full-time equivalent student
1037membership surveys shall be used in adjusting the amount of
1038funds distributed monthly to the charter school for the
1039remainder of the fiscal year. The payment shall be issued no
1040later than 10 working days after the district school board
1041receives a distribution of state or federal funds. If a warrant
1042for payment is not issued within 10 30 working days after
1043receipt of funding by the district school board, the school
1044district shall pay to the charter school, in addition to the
1045amount of the scheduled disbursement, interest at a rate of 5 1
1046percent per month calculated on a daily basis on the unpaid
1047balance from the expiration of the 10-day 30-day period until
1048such time as the warrant is issued. Failure by the school
1049district to make timely payments and reimbursements may result
1050in the potential withholding of additional funds to the school
1051district by the Commissioner of Education.
1052     (18)  FACILITIES.--
1053     (a)  A charter school shall utilize facilities which comply
1054with the Florida Building Code pursuant to chapter 553 except
1055for the State Requirements for Educational Facilities. Charter
1056schools are not required to comply, but may choose to comply,
1057with the State Requirements for Educational Facilities of the
1058Florida Building Code adopted pursuant to s. 1013.37. The local
1059governing authority shall not adopt or impose local building
1060requirements or restrictions that are more stringent than those
1061found in the Florida Building Code. The agency having
1062jurisdiction for inspection of a facility and issuance of a
1063certificate of occupancy shall be the local municipality or, if
1064in an unincorporated area, the county governing authority.
1065     (b)  A charter school shall utilize facilities that comply
1066with the Florida Fire Prevention Code, pursuant to s. 633.025,
1067as adopted by the authority in whose jurisdiction the facility
1068is located as provided in paragraph (a).
1069     (c)  Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a
1070charter school whose charter has been approved by the sponsor
1071and the governing board, pursuant to subsection (7), shall be
1072exempt from ad valorem taxes pursuant to s. 196.1983. Library,
1073community service, museum, performing arts, theatre, cinema,
1074community college, college, and university facilities may host
1075charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting
1076zoning and land use designations.
1077     (d)  Charter school facilities are exempt from assessments
1078of fees for building permits, except as provided in s. 553.80,
1079fees and for building and occupational licenses, and from
1080assessments of impact fees or service availability fees.
1081     (e)  If a district school board facility or property is
1082available because it is surplus, marked for disposal, or
1083otherwise unused, it shall be provided for a charter school's
1084use on the same basis as it is made available to other public
1085schools in the district. A charter school receiving property
1086from the school district may not sell or dispose of such
1087property without written permission of the school district.
1088Similarly, for an existing public school converting to charter
1089status, no rental or leasing fee for the existing facility or
1090for the property normally inventoried to the conversion school
1091may be charged by the district school board to the parents and
1092teachers organizing the charter school. The charter school
1093organizers shall agree to reasonable maintenance provisions in
1094order to maintain the facility in a manner similar to district
1095school board standards. The Public Education Capital Outlay
1096maintenance funds or any other maintenance funds generated by
1097the facility operated as a conversion school shall remain with
1098the conversion school.
1099     (f)  To the extent that charter school facilities are
1100specifically created to mitigate the educational impact created
1101by the development of new residential dwelling units, pursuant
1102to subparagraph (2)(c)4., some of or all of the educational
1103impact fees required to be paid in connection with the new
1104residential dwelling units may be designated instead for the
1105construction of the charter school facilities that will mitigate
1106the student station impact. Such facilities shall be built to
1107the State Requirements for Educational Facilities and shall be
1108owned by a public or nonprofit entity. The local school district
1109retains the right to monitor and inspect such facilities to
1110ensure compliance with the State Requirements for Educational
1111Facilities. If a facility ceases to be used for public
1112educational purposes, either the facility shall revert to the
1113school district subject to any debt owed on the facility, or the
1114owner of the facility shall have the option to refund all
1115educational impact fees utilized for the facility to the school
1116district. The district and the owner of the facility may
1117contractually agree to another arrangement for the facilities if
1118the facilities cease to be used for educational purposes. The
1119owner of property planned or approved for new residential
1120dwelling units and the entity levying educational impact fees
1121shall enter into an agreement that designates the educational
1122impact fees that will be allocated for the charter school
1123student stations and that ensures the timely construction of the
1124charter school student stations concurrent with the expected
1125occupancy of the residential units. The application for use of
1126educational impact fees shall include an approved charter school
1127application. To assist the school district in forecasting
1128student station needs, the entity levying the impact fees shall
1129notify the affected district of any agreements it has approved
1130for the purpose of mitigating student station impact from the
1131new residential dwelling units.
1132     (19)  CAPITAL OUTLAY FUNDING.--Charter schools are eligible
1133for capital outlay funds pursuant to s. 1013.62.
1134     (20)  SERVICES.--
1135     (a)1.  A sponsor shall provide certain administrative and
1136educational services to charter schools. These services shall
1137include contract management services; full-time equivalent and
1138data reporting services; exceptional student education
1139administration and evaluation services; eligibility and
1140reporting services as may be required to ensure school lunch
1141services consistent with the needs of charter school students;
1142test administration services, including payment of the costs of
1143state-required or district-required student assessments;
1144processing of teacher certificate data services; and information
1145services, including equal access to student information systems
1146that are used by public schools in the district in which the
1147charter school is located. A total administrative fee for the
1148provision of such services shall be calculated based upon up to
11495 percent of the available funds defined in paragraph (17)(b)
1150for all students. However, a sponsor may only withhold up to a
11515-percent administrative fee for enrollment for up to and
1152including 500 students. For charter schools with a population of
1153501 or more students, the difference between the total
1154administrative fee calculation and the amount of the
1155administrative fee withheld may only be used for capital outlay
1156purposes specified in s. 1013.62(4)(2). Sponsors shall not
1157charge charter schools any additional fees or surcharges for
1158administrative and educational services in addition to the
1159maximum 5-percent administrative fee withheld pursuant to this
1161     2.  The Department of Education shall conduct a study of
1162the administrative fee withheld by the school districts. The
1163study shall include, but is not limited to, the total amount of
1164funds withheld, the number of charter school students served,
1165and the services provided. By December 1, 2005, the department
1166shall report its findings to the Governor, the President of the
1167Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the
1168Commissioner of Education.
1169     (b)  If goods and services are made available to the
1170charter school through the contract with the school district,
1171they shall be provided to the charter school at a rate no
1172greater than the district's actual cost unless mutually agreed
1173upon by the charter school and the sponsor in a contract
1174negotiated separately from the charter. When mediation has
1175failed to resolve disputes over contracted services or
1176contractual matters not included in the charter, an appeal may
1177be made for a dispute resolution hearing before the Charter
1178School Appeal Commission. To maximize the use of state funds,
1179school districts shall allow charter schools to participate in
1180the sponsor's bulk purchasing program if applicable.
1181     (c)  Transportation of charter school students shall be
1182provided by the charter school consistent with the requirements
1183of subpart I.E. of chapter 1006 and s. 1012.45. The governing
1184body of the charter school may provide transportation through an
1185agreement or contract with the district school board, a private
1186provider, or parents. The charter school and the sponsor shall
1187cooperate in making arrangements that ensure that transportation
1188is not a barrier to equal access for all students residing
1189within a reasonable distance of the charter school as determined
1190in its charter.
1192Department of Education shall provide information to the public,
1193directly and through sponsors, both on how to form and operate a
1194charter school and on how to enroll in charter schools once they
1195are created. This information shall include a standard
1196application format, charter format, and charter renewal format
1197which shall include the information specified in subsection (7).
1198These formats shall This application format may be used as
1199guidelines by charter school sponsors chartering entities.
1201     (a)  The Department of Education shall staff and regularly
1202convene a Charter School Review Panel in order to review issues,
1203practices, and policies regarding charter schools. The
1204composition of the review panel shall include individuals with
1205experience in finance, administration, law, education, and
1206school governance, and individuals familiar with charter school
1207construction and operation. The panel shall include two
1208appointees each from the Commissioner of Education, the
1209President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
1210Representatives. The Governor shall appoint three members of the
1211panel and shall designate the chair. Each member of the panel
1212shall serve a 1-year term, unless renewed by the office making
1213the appointment. The panel shall make recommendations to the
1214Legislature, to the Department of Education, to charter schools,
1215and to school districts for improving charter school operations
1216and oversight and for ensuring best business practices at and
1217fair business relationships with charter schools.
1218     (b)  The Legislature shall review the operation of charter
1219schools during the 2010 2005 Regular Session of the Legislature.
1221of the annual report required by paragraph (9)(l), the
1222Department of Education shall provide to the State Board of
1223Education, the Commissioner of Education, the Governor, the
1224President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
1225Representatives an analysis and comparison of the overall
1226performance of charter school students, to include all students
1227whose scores are counted as part of the statewide assessment
1228program, versus comparable public school students in the
1229district as determined by the statewide assessment program
1230currently administered in the school district, and other
1231assessments administered pursuant to s. 1008.22(3).
1233     (a)  The Florida Charter School Accountability Authority
1234(FCSAA) is established as a component of the delivery of public
1235education within Florida's K-20 education system and shall be
1236funded through the Department of Education. Unless otherwise
1237provided by law, the authority shall comply with all laws and
1238rules applicable to state agencies. The authority shall report
1239to the State Board of Education and the Chancellor for K-12
1240Public Schools as required.
1241     (b)  The mission of the FCSAA is to encourage and
1242facilitate innovation, educational excellence, and high
1243standards of financial and educational accountability for
1244charter schools in the state.
1245     (c)1.  There is hereby created a Board of Trustees for the
1246Florida Charter School Accountability Authority which shall
1247consist of nine members appointed by the Governor based on
1248recommendations by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of
1249the House of Representatives, and the Commissioner of Education.
1250The Governor shall designate one appointee to act as chair of
1251the board of trustees and may remove any member for cause. Each
1252member shall serve a 2-year term, and all vacancies shall be
1253filled by the Governor.
1254     2.  Members appointed to the authority shall have
1255experience or expertise in at least one of the following areas:
1256     a.  Experience as a charter school board member or founder
1257of a charter school.
1258     b.  Experience as a public school administrator working
1259with charter schools.
1260     c.  Experience as a public school teacher.
1261     d.  Experience in financial management.
1262     e.  Expertise in charter school law.
1263     f.  Expertise in school district special education.
1264     g.  Expertise in curriculum and assessment.
1265     3.  The board of trustees shall hold public meetings at
1266least quarterly with additional meetings called by the chair or
1267upon the request of three members of the board of trustees. Five
1268members of the board of trustees shall constitute a quorum. The
1269board of trustees shall retain an executive director and staff
1270and shall act at all times in accordance with rules of the State
1271Board of Education.
1272     (d)  The FCSAA shall:
1273     1.  Establish regional offices as necessary to accomplish
1274its duties and functions, including coordination and
1275collaboration with the local district school boards.
1276     2.  Develop, promote, and disseminate best practices and
1277provide technical assistance to charter schools and charter
1278school sponsors.
1279     3.  Develop, promote, and disseminate high standards of
1280financial and educational accountability.
1281     4.  Have the authority to sponsor and oversee charter
1283     5.  Deliver accurate information to the Department of
1284Education, including, but not limited to, best practices,
1285financial management and school budgets, and student
1286performance, assessment, and accountability standards for
1287charter schools in the state, to be included on the department's
1288website for charter schools.
1289     6.  Be designated as a local educational agency.
1290     7.  Annually review and evaluate the performance of each
1291charter school sponsored by the FCSAA and measure its compliance
1292with the terms and requirements of its charter, including the
1293assessment of student achievement in the charter school.
1294     8.  Direct charter schools and persons seeking to establish
1295charter schools to sources of private, state, and federal
1296funding and grant opportunities.
1297     9.  Have the authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss.
1298120.536(1) and 120.54.
1299     10.  Have the authority to contract for services with a
1300school district at a cost no greater than the school district's
1301actual cost, unless mutually agreed to by the parties.
1302     (e)1.  The FCSAA is authorized to receive and expend gifts,
1303grants, and donations of any kind from any public or private
1304entity to carry out the purposes of this subsection, subject to
1305the terms and conditions under which given, except that no gift,
1306grant, or donation shall be accepted if the terms and conditions
1307attached thereto are contrary to law.
1308     2.  The FCSAA shall not be obligated to commence operations
1309necessary to receive charter school applications until such time
1310as the authority has received $100,000, whether received from
1311gifts, grants, donations, or other sources.
1312     3.  The FCSAA shall retain up to 5 percent of the available
1313funds defined in paragraph (17)(b) as an administrative fee for
1314the provision of services.
1315     (25)(24)  RULEMAKING.--The Department of Education, after
1316consultation with school districts and charter school directors,
1317shall recommend that the State Board of Education adopt rules to
1318implement specific subsections of this section. Such rules shall
1319require minimum paperwork and shall not limit charter school
1320flexibility authorized by statute.
1321     Section 2.  Paragraph (f) is added to subsection (2) of
1322section 1012.01, Florida Statutes, to read:
1323     1012.01  Definitions.--Specific definitions shall be as
1324follows, and wherever such defined words or terms are used in
1325the Florida K-20 Education Code, they shall be used as follows:
1326     (2)  INSTRUCTIONAL PERSONNEL.--"Instructional personnel"
1327means any K-12 staff member whose function includes the
1328provision of direct instructional services to students.
1329Instructional personnel also includes K-12 personnel whose
1330functions provide direct support in the learning process of
1331students. Included in the classification of instructional
1332personnel are the following K-12 personnel:
1333     (f)  Charter school instructional personnel.--Charter
1334school instructional personnel are classroom teachers, student
1335personnel services staff members, librarians/media specialists,
1336other instructional staff, and education paraprofessionals
1337employed in a charter school.
1338     Section 3.  Subsection (1) of section 1012.231, Florida
1339Statutes, is amended to read:
1340     1012.231  BEST Florida Teaching salary career ladder
1341program; assignment of teachers.--
1343TEACHERS.--Beginning with the 2005-2006 academic year, each
1344district school board shall implement a salary career ladder for
1345classroom teachers, including charter school classroom teachers,
1346as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a). Performance shall be defined as
1347designated in s. 1012.34(3)(a)1.-7. District school boards shall
1348designate categories of classroom teachers reflecting these
1349salary career ladder levels as follows:
1350     (a)  Associate teacher.--Classroom teachers in the school
1351district who have not yet received a professional certificate or
1352those with a professional certificate who are evaluated as low-
1353performing teachers.
1354     (b)  Professional teacher.--Classroom teachers in the
1355school district who have received a professional certificate.
1356     (c)  Lead teacher.--Classroom teachers in the school
1357district who are responsible for leading others in the school as
1358department chair, lead teacher, grade-level leader, intern
1359coordinator, or professional development coordinator. Lead
1360teachers must participate on a regular basis in the direct
1361instruction of students and serve as faculty for professional
1362development activities as determined by the State Board of
1363Education. To be eligible for designation as a lead teacher, a
1364teacher must demonstrate outstanding performance pursuant to s.
13651012.34(3)(a)1.-7. and must have been a "professional teacher"
1366pursuant to paragraph (b) for at least 1 year.
1367     (d)  Mentor teacher.--Classroom teachers in the school
1368district who serve as regular mentors to other teachers who are
1369either not performing satisfactorily or who strive to become
1370more proficient. Mentor teachers must serve as faculty-based
1371professional development coordinators and regularly demonstrate
1372and share their expertise with other teachers in order to remain
1373mentor teachers. Mentor teachers must also participate on a
1374regular basis in the direct instruction of low-performing
1375students. To be eligible for designation as a mentor teacher, a
1376teacher must demonstrate outstanding performance pursuant to s.
13771012.34(3)(a)1.-7. and must have been a "lead teacher" pursuant
1378to paragraph (c) for at least 2 years.
1380Promotion of a teacher to a higher level on the salary career
1381ladder shall be based upon prescribed performance criteria and
1382not based upon length of service.
1383     Section 4.  Subsection (2) of section 1012.74, Florida
1384Statutes, is amended to read:
1385     1012.74  Florida educators professional liability insurance
1387     (2)(a)  Educator professional liability coverage for all
1388instructional personnel, including charter school instructional
1389personnel, as defined by s. 1012.01(2), who are full-time
1390personnel, as defined by the district school board policy, shall
1391be provided by specific appropriations under the General
1392Appropriations Act.
1393     (b)  Educator professional liability coverage shall be
1394extended at cost to all instructional personnel, including
1395charter school instructional personnel, as defined by s.
13961012.01(2), who are part-time personnel, as defined by the
1397district school board policy, and choose to participate in the
1398state-provided program.
1399     (c)  Educator professional liability coverage shall be
1400extended at cost to all administrative personnel, including
1401administrative personnel in charter schools, as defined by s.
14021012.01(3), who choose to participate in the state-provided
1404     Section 5.  Section 1013.62, Florida Statutes, is amended
1405to read:
1406     1013.62  Charter schools capital outlay funding.--
1407     (1)  In each year in which funds are appropriated for
1408charter school capital outlay purposes, the Commissioner of
1409Education shall allocate the funds among eligible charter
1410schools. To be eligible for a funding allocation, a charter
1411school must be one of the following:
1412     (a)  The same school that received capital outlay funding
1413in 2003-2004.
1414     (b)  A charter school that is an expanded feeder pattern of
1415a charter school that received capital outlay funding in 2003-
1417     (2)  If an appropriation for charter school capital outlay
1418funds is less than the 2003-2004 appropriation, the funds shall
1419be prorated among schools eligible pursuant to subsection (1).
1420     (3)  If an appropriation for charter school capital outlay
1421funds is greater than the 2003-2004 appropriation, the funds
1422shall be allocated to schools eligible pursuant to subsection
1423(1) and to charter schools that:
1424     (a)1.  Have been in operation for 3 or more years;
1425     2.  Are Be an expanded feeder chain of a charter school
1426within the same school district that is currently receiving
1427charter school capital outlay funds; or
1428     3.  Have been accredited by the Commission on Schools of
1429the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
1430     (b)  Have financial stability for future operation as a
1431charter school.
1432     (c)  Have satisfactory student achievement based on state
1433accountability standards applicable to the charter school.
1434     (d)  Have received final approval from its sponsor pursuant
1435to s. 1002.33 for operation during that fiscal year.
1436     (e)  Serve students in facilities that are not provided by
1437the charter school's sponsor.
1439First priority for allocating the amount in excess of the 2003-
14402004 appropriation shall be to prorate the excess funds among
1441charter schools with long-term debt or long-term lease to the
1442extent that the initial allocation is insufficient to provide
1443one-fifteenth of the cost-per-student station specified in s.
14441013.64(6)(b), and second priority shall be to other eligible
1445charter schools. Prior to the release of capital outlay funds to
1446a school district on behalf of the charter school, the
1447Department of Education shall ensure that the district school
1448board and the charter school governing board enter into a
1449written agreement that includes provisions for the reversion of
1450any unencumbered funds and all equipment and property purchased
1451with public education funds to the ownership of the district
1452school board, as provided for in subsection (5)(3), in the event
1453that the school terminates operations. Any funds recovered by
1454the state shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund. A
1455charter school is not eligible for a funding allocation if it
1456was created by the conversion of a public school and operates in
1457facilities provided by the charter school's sponsor for a
1458nominal fee or at no charge or if it is directly or indirectly
1459operated by the school district. Unless otherwise provided in
1460the General Appropriations Act, the funding allocation for each
1461eligible charter school shall be determined by multiplying the
1462school's projected student enrollment by one-fifteenth of the
1463cost-per-student station specified in s. 1013.64(6)(b) for an
1464elementary, middle, or high school, as appropriate. If the funds
1465appropriated are not sufficient, the commissioner shall prorate
1466the available funds among eligible charter schools. However, no
1467charter school or charter lab school shall receive state charter
1468school capital outlay funds in excess of the one-fifteenth cost
1469per student station formula if the charter school's combination
1470of state charter school capital outlay funds, capital outlay
1471funds calculated through the reduction in the administrative fee
1472provided in s. 1002.33(20), and capital outlay funds allowed in
1473s. 1002.32(9)(e) and (h) exceeds the one-fifteenth cost per
1474student station formula. Funds shall be distributed on the basis
1475of the capital outlay full-time equivalent membership by grade
1476level, which shall be calculated by averaging the results of the
1477second and third enrollment surveys. The Department of Education
1478shall distribute capital outlay funds monthly, beginning in the
1479first quarter of the fiscal year, based on one-twelfth of the
1480amount the department reasonably expects the charter school to
1481receive during that fiscal year. The commissioner shall adjust
1482subsequent distributions as necessary to reflect each charter
1483school's actual student enrollment as reflected in the second
1484and third enrollment surveys. The commissioner shall establish
1485the intervals and procedures for determining the projected and
1486actual student enrollment of eligible charter schools.
1487     (4)(2)  A charter school's governing body may use charter
1488school capital outlay funds for the following purposes:
1489     (a)  Purchase of real property.
1490     (b)  Construction of school facilities.
1491     (c)  Purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of permanent or
1492relocatable school facilities.
1493     (d)  Purchase of vehicles to transport students to and from
1494the charter school.
1495     (e)  Renovation, repair, and maintenance of school
1496facilities that the charter school owns or is purchasing through
1497a lease-purchase or long-term lease of 5 years or longer.
1498     (f)  Other capital outlay purposes that are authorized
1499capital outlay uses for school districts.
1501Conversion charter schools may use capital outlay funds received
1502through the reduction in the administrative fee provided in s.
15031002.33(20) for renovation, repair, and maintenance of school
1504facilities that are owned by the sponsor.
1505     (5)(3)  When a charter school is nonrenewed or terminated,
1506any unencumbered funds and all equipment and property purchased
1507with district public funds shall revert to the ownership of the
1508district school board, as provided for in s. 1002.33(8)(e) and
1509(f). In the case of a charter lab school, any unencumbered funds
1510and all equipment and property purchased with university public
1511funds shall revert to the ownership of the state university that
1512issued the charter. The reversion of such equipment, property,
1513and furnishings shall focus on recoverable assets, but not on
1514intangible or irrecoverable costs such as rental or leasing
1515fees, normal maintenance, and limited renovations. The reversion
1516of all property secured with public funds is subject to the
1517complete satisfaction of all lawful liens or encumbrances. If
1518there are additional local issues such as the shared use of
1519facilities or partial ownership of facilities or property, these
1520issues shall be agreed to in the charter contract prior to the
1521expenditure of funds.
1522     (6)(4)  The Commissioner of Education shall specify
1523procedures for submitting and approving requests for funding
1524under this section and procedures for documenting expenditures.
1525     (7)(5)  The annual legislative budget request of the
1526Department of Education shall include a request for capital
1527outlay funding for charter schools. The request shall be based
1528on the projected number of students to be served in charter
1529schools who meet the eligibility requirements of this section. A
1530dedicated funding source, if identified in writing by the
1531Commissioner of Education and submitted along with the annual
1532charter school legislative budget request, may be considered an
1533additional source of funding.
1534     (8)(6)  Unless authorized otherwise by the Legislature,
1535allocation and proration of charter school capital outlay funds
1536shall be made to eligible charter schools by the Commissioner of
1537Education in an amount and in a manner authorized by subsections
1538(2) and (3) subsection (1).
1539     (7)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section,
1540beginning in the 2003-2004 fiscal year:
1541     (a)  If the appropriation for charter school capital outlay
1542funds is no greater than the 2002-2003 appropriation, the funds
1543shall be allocated according to the formula outlined in
1544subsection (1) to:
1545     1.  The same schools that received funding in 2002-2003.
1546     2.  Schools that are an expanded feeder pattern of schools
1547that received funding in 2002-2003.
1548     3.  Schools that have an approved charter and are serving
1549students at the start of the 2003-2004 school year and either
1550incurred long-term financial obligations prior to January 31,
15512003, or began construction on educational facilities prior to
1552December 31, 2002.
1553     (b)  If the appropriation for charter school capital outlay
1554funds is less than the 2002-2003 appropriation, the funds shall
1555be prorated among the schools eligible in paragraph (a).
1556     (c)  If the appropriation for charter school capital outlay
1557funds is greater than the 2002-2003 appropriation, the amount of
1558funds provided in the 2002-2003 appropriation shall be allocated
1559according to paragraph (a). First priority for allocating the
1560amount in excess of the 2002-2003 appropriation shall be to
1561prorate the excess funds among the charter schools with long-
1562term debt or long-term lease to the extent that the initial
1563allocation is insufficient to provide one-fifteenth of the cost
1564per student station specified in s. 1013.64(6)(b), and second
1565priority shall be to other eligible charter schools.
1566     Section 6.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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