Senate Bill 0154

Senate Bill sb0154

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 154

    By Senator Saunders





    37-82-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to school district employees

  3         and contractors; amending ss. 1002.33, 1012.21,

  4         1012.32, 1012.56, 1012.57, F.S.; requiring

  5         background screening, initially and

  6         periodically, of charter school employees and

  7         members of the governing board; requiring

  8         background screening, initially and

  9         periodically, of persons certified under ch.

10         1012, F.S.; requiring background screening,

11         initially and periodically, of adjunct

12         educators; requiring background screening,

13         initially and periodically, of certain

14         noninstructional personnel and contractors with

15         the school district; requiring any such person

16         to report his or her conviction of a

17         disqualifying offense; providing that

18         noninstructional personnel may perform certain

19         services before the results of the screening

20         have been reported, with limitations; providing

21         for suspending any such personnel who do not

22         meet the screening requirements and voiding the

23         certification of any such certified person;

24         providing for appeal; providing that the school

25         district or the employee may pay for the

26         screening; providing an effective date.

27  

28  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

29  

30         Section 1.  Paragraph (g) of subsection (12) of section

31  1002.33, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 154
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 1         1002.33  Charter schools.--

 2         (12)  EMPLOYEES OF CHARTER SCHOOLS.--

 3         (g)  A charter school shall employ or contract with

 4  employees who have undergone background screening been

 5  fingerprinted as provided in s. 1012.32. Members of the

 6  governing board of the charter school shall also undergo

 7  background screening be fingerprinted in a manner similar to

 8  that provided in s. 1012.32.

 9         Section 2.  Subsection (1) of section 1012.21, Florida

10  Statutes, is amended to read:

11         1012.21  Department of Education duties; K-12

12  personnel.--

13         (1)  BACKGROUND SCREENINGS; PERIODIC CRIMINAL HISTORY

14  RECORD CHECKS.--In cooperation with the Florida Department of

15  Law Enforcement, the Department of Education shall perform

16  background screening as required under s. 1012.56 and may

17  periodically perform criminal history record checks on

18  individuals who hold a certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56 or

19  s. 1012.57.

20         Section 3.  Subsection (2) of section 1012.32, Florida

21  Statutes, is amended to read:

22         1012.32  Qualifications of personnel.--

23         (2)(a)  Instructional and noninstructional personnel

24  who are hired to fill positions requiring direct contact with

25  students in any district school system or university lab

26  school shall, upon employment, undergo background screening as

27  required under s. 1012.56 or section 6 of this act, whichever

28  is applicable file a complete set of fingerprints taken by an

29  authorized law enforcement officer or an employee of the

30  school or district who is trained to take fingerprints. These

31  fingerprints shall be submitted to the Department of Law

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 154
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 1  Enforcement for state processing and to the Federal Bureau of

 2  Investigation for federal processing. The new employees shall

 3  be on probationary status pending fingerprint processing and

 4  determination of compliance with standards of good moral

 5  character. Employees found through fingerprint processing to

 6  have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude may

 7  shall not be employed in any position requiring direct contact

 8  with students.  Probationary employees terminated because of

 9  their criminal record shall have the right to appeal such

10  decisions. The cost of the background screening fingerprint

11  processing may be borne by the district school board or the

12  employee.

13         (b)  Personnel who have been fingerprinted or screened

14  pursuant to this subsection and who have not been unemployed

15  for more than 90 days shall not be required to be

16  refingerprinted or rescreened in order to comply with the

17  requirements of this subsection.

18         Section 4.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of section

19  1012.56, Florida Statutes, is amended, present subsections

20  (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), and (15) of that section

21  are redesignated as subsections (10), (11), (12), (13), (14),

22  (15), and (16), respectively, and a new subsection (9) is

23  added to that section, to read:

24         1012.56  Educator certification requirements.--

25         (2)  ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA.--To be eligible to seek

26  certification pursuant to this chapter, a person must:

27         (d)  Submit to background screening in accordance with

28  subsection (9) a fingerprint check from the Department of Law

29  Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation pursuant

30  to s. 1012.32. If the background screening indicates

31  fingerprint reports indicate a criminal history or if the

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 154
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 1  applicant acknowledges a criminal history, the applicant's

 2  records shall be referred to the Bureau of Educator Standards

 3  for review and determination of eligibility for certification.

 4  If the applicant fails to provide the necessary documentation

 5  requested by the Bureau of Educator Standards within 90 days

 6  after the date of the receipt of the certified mail request,

 7  the statement of eligibility and pending application shall

 8  become invalid.

 9         (9)  BACKGROUND SCREENING REQUIRED, INITIALLY AND

10  PERIODICALLY.--

11         (a)  Each person who seeks certification under this

12  chapter must meet level 2 screening requirements as described

13  in s. 435.04. A person may satisfy the requirements of this

14  paragraph by submitting proof of compliance with the

15  requirements of level 2 screening conducted within 12 months

16  before the date that person initially obtains certification

17  under this chapter.

18         (b)  A person may not receive a certificate under this

19  chapter until the level 2 screening has been completed and the

20  results have been submitted to the district school

21  superintendent of the school district that employs him or her.

22  Every 5 years after obtaining initial certification, each

23  person who is required to be certified under this chapter must

24  meet level 2 screening requirements and must submit the

25  results of that screening to the district school

26  superintendent. Under penalty of perjury, each person who is

27  certified under this chapter must agree to inform his or her

28  employer immediately if convicted of any disqualifying offense

29  while he or she is employed in a position for which such

30  certification is required.

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 154
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 1         (c)  If it is found that a person who is employed in a

 2  position requiring certification under this chapter does not

 3  meet the level 2 requirements, the person's certification

 4  immediately becomes void, and he or she is immediately

 5  suspended from the position requiring certification.

 6         Section 5.  Section 1012.57, Florida Statutes, is

 7  amended to read:

 8         1012.57  Certification of adjunct educators.--

 9         (1)  Notwithstanding the provisions of ss. 1012.32,

10  1012.55, and 1012.56, or any other provision of law or rule to

11  the contrary, district school boards may issue an adjunct

12  teaching certificate to any applicant who fulfills the

13  requirements of s. 1012.56(2)(a)-(f) and (9) and who has

14  expertise in the subject area to be taught. An applicant shall

15  be considered to have expertise in the subject area to be

16  taught if the applicant has at least a minor in the subject

17  area or demonstrates sufficient subject area mastery as

18  determined by district school board policy. The adjunct

19  teaching certificate shall be used for part-time teaching

20  positions. The intent of this provision is to allow school

21  districts to tap the wealth of talent and expertise

22  represented in Florida's citizens who may wish to teach

23  part-time in a Florida public school by permitting school

24  districts to issue adjunct certificates. Adjunct

25  certificateholders should be used as a strategy to reduce the

26  teacher shortage; thus, adjunct certificateholders should

27  supplement a school's instructional staff, not supplant it.

28  Each school principal shall assign an experienced peer mentor

29  to assist the adjunct teaching certificateholder during the

30  certificateholder's first year of teaching, and an adjunct

31  certificateholder may participate in a district's new teacher

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 1  training program. District school boards shall provide the

 2  adjunct teaching certificateholder an orientation in classroom

 3  management prior to assigning the certificateholder to a

 4  school. Each adjunct teaching certificate is valid for 5

 5  school years and is renewable if:

 6         (a)  The applicant completes a minimum of 60 inservice

 7  points or 3 semester hours of college credit. The earned

 8  credits must include instruction in classroom management,

 9  district school board procedures, school culture, and other

10  activities that enhance the professional teaching skills of

11  the certificateholder.

12         (b)  The applicant has received satisfactory

13  performance evaluations during each year of teaching under

14  adjunct teaching certification.

15         (2)  Individuals who are certified and employed under

16  pursuant to this section shall have the same rights and

17  protection of laws as teachers certified under pursuant to s.

18  1012.56.

19         Section 6.  Background screening requirements for

20  certain noninstructional school district employees and

21  contractors.--

22         (1)  Noninstructional school district employees or

23  contractual personnel who have direct contact with minors or

24  access to or control of school funds must meet level 2

25  screening requirements as described in section 435.04, Florida

26  Statutes. A person may satisfy the requirements of this

27  subsection by submitting to the district school superintendent

28  proof of compliance with the requirements of level 2 screening

29  conducted within 12 months before the date that person

30  initially is employed in the position requiring such screening

31  under this subsection.

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 1         (2)  A person who meets the criteria set forth in

 2  subsection (1) but who is serving in a noninstructional

 3  capacity may provide services before the completion of his or

 4  her level 2 screening. However, pending the results of the

 5  screening, the person may not be alone with a minor in

 6  connection with providing those services.

 7         (3)  Every 5 years following employment in a capacity

 8  described in subsection (1), each person who is so employed

 9  must meet level 2 screening requirements and must submit the

10  results of that screening to the district school

11  superintendent of the school district that employs him or her.

12  Under penalty of perjury, each person who is employed in a

13  capacity described in subsection (1) must agree to inform his

14  or her employer immediately if convicted of any disqualifying

15  offense while he or she is employed in that capacity.

16         (4)  If it is found that a person who is employed in a

17  capacity described in subsection (1) does not meet the level 2

18  requirements, the person shall be immediately suspended from

19  working in that capacity and shall remain suspended until any

20  appeal of that suspension has been resolved in his or her

21  favor.

22         Section 7.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2004.

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 154
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 2                          SENATE SUMMARY

 3    Requires initial and periodic level 2 background
      screening of certain persons who work for school
 4    districts, including instructional personnel certified
      under ch. 1012, F.S., and noninstructional personnel and
 5    contractors who have direct contact with minors or access
      to or control of school funds. Requires such screening of
 6    charter school employees and members of the governing
      board and of adjunct educators. Requires any such person
 7    to report his or her conviction of a disqualifying
      offense. Provides for suspending personnel who do not
 8    meet the screening requirements and voiding their
      certification under ch. 1012, F.S. Provides for appeals.
 9    Provides that either the school district or the employee
      may pay for the screening.
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