Section 1003.63, Florida Statutes 2009
1003.63 Deregulated public schools pilot program.--
(1) PILOT PROGRAM.--To provide public schools the same flexibility and accountability afforded charter schools, pilot programs for deregulated public schools shall be conducted. The following districts are authorized to conduct pilot programs in 1998-1999: Palm Beach, Pinellas, Seminole, Leon, Walton, and Citrus Counties. The schools and district school boards which are participating in the pilot program as of January 1, 1999, are authorized to continue the pilot program through the 2003-2004 school year. Lee County is authorized to conduct the pilot program beginning in the 1999-2000 school year through the 2003-2004 school year.
(2) PURPOSE.--The purpose of the pilot program for deregulated public schools shall be to:
(a) Improve student learning.
(b) Increase learning opportunities for all students, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for students who are identified as academically low achieving.
(c) Encourage the use of different and innovative learning methods.
(d) Increase choice of learning opportunities for students.
(e) Establish a new form of accountability for schools.
(f) Require the measurement of learning outcomes and create innovative measurement tools.
(g) Make the school the unit for improvement.
(h) Relieve schools of paperwork and procedures that are required by the state and the district school board for purposes other than health, safety, equal opportunity, fiscal accountability and documentation of student achievement.
(a) A proposal to be a deregulated school must be developed by the school principal and the school advisory council. A majority of the members of the school advisory council must approve the proposal, and the principal and the school advisory council chair must sign the proposal. At least 50 percent of the teachers employed at the school must approve the proposal. The school must conduct a survey to show parental support for the proposal.
(b) A district school board shall receive and review all proposals for a deregulated public school. A district school board must by a majority vote approve or deny a proposal no later than 30 days after the proposal is received. If a proposal is denied, the district school board must, within 10 calendar days, articulate in writing the specific reasons based upon good cause supporting its denial of the proposal.
(c) The Department of Education may provide technical assistance to an applicant upon written request.
(d) The terms and conditions for the operation of a deregulated public school shall be set forth in the proposal. The district school board shall not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that violate the intent of giving schools greater flexibility to meet educational goals.
(4) ELIGIBLE STUDENTS.--
(a) A deregulated school shall be open to all students residing in the school's attendance boundaries as determined by the district school board.
(b) The deregulated public school shall have maximum flexibility to enroll students under the district school board open enrollment plan.
(5) REQUIREMENTS.--Like other public schools, a deregulated public school shall:
(a) Be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and operations.
(b) Not charge tuition or fees, except those fees normally charged by other public schools.
(c) Meet all applicable state and local health, safety, and civil rights requirements.
(d) Not violate the antidiscrimination provisions of s. 1000.05.
(e) Be subject to an annual financial audit in a manner similar to that of other public schools in the district.
(6) ELEMENTS OF THE PROPOSAL.--The major issues involving the operation of a deregulated public school shall be considered in advance and written into the proposal.
(a) The proposal shall address, and criteria for approval of the proposal shall be based on:
1. The school's mission and the students to be served.
2. The focus of the curriculum, the instructional methods to be used, and any distinctive instructional techniques to be employed.
3. The current baseline standard of achievement and the outcomes to be achieved and the method of measurement that will be used.
4. The methods used to identify the educational strengths and needs of students and how well educational goals and performance standards are met by students attending the school. Students in deregulated public schools shall, at a minimum, participate in the statewide assessment program.
5. In secondary schools, a method for determining that a student has satisfied the requirements for graduation in s. 1003.43.
6. A method for resolving conflicts between the school and the district.
7. The admissions procedures and dismissal procedures, including the school's code of student conduct.
8. The ways by which the school's racial/ethnic balance reflects the community it serves or reflects the racial/ethnic range of other public schools in the same school district.
9. The financial and administrative management of the school including a statement of the areas in which the school will have administrative and fiscal autonomy and the areas in which the school will follow district school board fiscal and administrative policies.
10. The manner in which the school will be insured, including whether or not the school will be required to have liability insurance, and, if so, the terms and conditions thereof and the amounts of coverage.
11. The qualifications to be required of the teachers.
(b) The school shall make annual progress reports to the district, which upon verification shall be forwarded to the Commissioner of Education at the same time as other annual school accountability reports. The report shall contain at least the following information:
1. The school's progress toward achieving the goals outlined in its proposal.
2. The information required in the annual school report pursuant to s. 1008.345.
3. Financial records of the school, including revenues and expenditures.
4. Salary and benefit levels of school employees.
(c) A district school board shall ensure that the proposal is innovative and consistent with the state education goals established by s. 1000.03(5).
(d) Upon receipt of the annual report required by paragraph (b), the Department of Education shall provide the State Board of Education, the Commissioner of Education, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives with a copy of each report and an analysis and comparison of the overall performance of students, to include all students in deregulated public schools whose scores are counted as part of the statewide assessment tests, versus comparable public school students in the district as determined by statewide assessments administered under s. 1008.22(3) and district assessment tests.
(7) EXEMPTION FROM STATUTES.--
(a) A deregulated public school shall operate in accordance with its proposal and shall be exempt from all statutes of the Florida K-20 Education Code, except those pertaining to civil rights and student health, safety, and welfare, or as otherwise required by this section. A deregulated public school shall not be exempt from the following statutes: chapter 119, relating to public records; s. 286.011, relating to public meetings and records, public inspection, and penalties; and chapters 1010 and 1011 if exemption would affect funding allocations or create inequity in public school funding.
(b) A deregulated public school may employ or contract with skilled selected noncertified personnel to provide instructional services or to assist instructional staff members as education paraprofessionals in the same manner as defined in chapter 1012. A deregulated public school may not employ an individual to provide instructional services or to serve as an education paraprofessional if the individual's certification or licensure as an educator is suspended or revoked by this or any other state. The qualifications of teachers shall be disclosed to parents.
(c) A deregulated public school shall employ or contract with employees who have been fingerprinted as provided in s. 1012.32.
(8) REVENUE.--Students enrolled in a deregulated public school shall be funded in a basic program or a special program in the same manner as students enrolled in other public schools in the school district.
(9) LENGTH OF SCHOOL YEAR.--A deregulated public school shall provide instruction for at least the number of days required by law for other public schools, and may provide instruction for additional days.
(10) FACILITIES.--A deregulated public school shall utilize facilities which comply with the State Uniform Building Code for Public Educational Facilities Construction adopted pursuant to s. 1013.37, or with applicable state minimum building codes pursuant to chapter 553 and state minimum fire protection codes pursuant to s. 633.025, as adopted by the authority in whose jurisdiction the facility is located.
History.--s. 156, ch. 2002-387; s. 41, ch. 2004-41; s. 12, ch. 2008-235.