1002.36 Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.—
(1) RESPONSIBILITIES.—The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, located in St. Johns County, is a state-supported residential public school for hearing-impaired and visually impaired students in preschool through 12th grade. The school is a component of the delivery of public education within Florida’s K-20 education system and shall be funded through the Department of Education. The school shall provide educational programs and support services appropriate to meet the education and related evaluation and counseling needs of hearing-impaired and visually impaired students in the state who meet enrollment criteria. Unless otherwise provided by law, the school shall comply with all laws and rules applicable to state agencies. Education services may be provided on an outreach basis for sensory-impaired children ages 0 through 5 years and to district school boards upon request. Graduates of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall be eligible for the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant Program as provided in s. 1009.89.
(2) MISSION.—The mission of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is to utilize all available talent, energy, and resources to provide free appropriate public education for eligible sensory-impaired students of Florida. As a school of academic excellence, the school shall strive to provide students an opportunity to access education services in a caring, safe, unique learning environment to prepare them to be literate, employable, and independent lifelong learners. The school shall provide outreach services that include collaboration with district school boards and shall encourage input from students, staff, parents, and the community. As a diverse organization, the school shall foster respect and understanding for each individual.
(3) AUDITS.—The Auditor General shall conduct annual audits of the accounts and records of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. The Department of Education’s Inspector General is authorized to conduct investigations at the school as provided in s. 1001.20(4)(e).
(4) BOARD OF TRUSTEES.—
(a) There is hereby created a Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind which shall consist of seven members. Of these seven members, one appointee shall be a blind person and one appointee shall be a deaf person. Each member shall have been a resident of the state for a period of at least 10 years. Their terms of office shall be 4 years. The appointment of the trustees shall be by the Governor with the confirmation of the Senate. The Governor may remove any member for cause and shall fill all vacancies that occur.
(b) The board of trustees shall elect a chair annually. The trustees shall be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061, the accounts of which shall be paid by the Chief Financial Officer upon itemized vouchers duly approved by the chair.
(c) The board of trustees has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement provisions of law relating to operation of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Such rules shall be submitted to the State Board of Education for approval or disapproval. After a rule is approved by the State Board of Education, the rule shall be filed immediately with the Department of State. The board of trustees shall act at all times in conjunction with the rules of the State Board of Education.
(d) The board of trustees is a body corporate and shall have a corporate seal. Unless otherwise provided by law, all actions of the board of trustees shall be consistent with all laws and rules applicable to state agencies. Title to any gift, donation, or bequest received by the board of trustees pursuant to subparagraph (e)11. shall vest in the board of trustees. Title to all other property and other assets of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall vest in the State Board of Education, but the board of trustees shall have complete jurisdiction over the management of the school.
(e) The board of trustees is invested with full power and authority to:
1. Appoint a president, faculty, teachers, and other employees and remove the same as in its judgment may be best and fix their compensation.
2. Procure professional services, such as medical, mental health, architectural, and engineering.
3. Procure legal services without the prior written approval of the Attorney General.
4. Determine eligibility of students and procedure for admission.
5. Provide for the students of the school necessary bedding, clothing, food, and medical attendance and such other things as may be proper for the health and comfort of the students without cost to their parents, except that the board of trustees may set tuition and other fees for nonresidents.
6. Provide for the proper keeping of accounts and records and for budgeting of funds.
7. Enter into contracts.
8. Sue and be sued.
9. Secure public liability insurance.
10. Do and perform every other matter or thing requisite to the proper management, maintenance, support, and control of the school at the highest efficiency economically possible, the board of trustees taking into consideration the purposes of the establishment.
11. Receive gifts, donations, and bequests of money or property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, from any person, firm, corporation, or other legal entity. However, the board of trustees may not obligate the state to any expenditure or policy that is not specifically authorized by law. If the bill of sale, will, trust indenture, deed, or other legal conveyance specifies terms and conditions concerning the use of such money or property, the board of trustees shall observe such terms and conditions.
12. Deposit outside the State Treasury such moneys as are received as gifts, donations, or bequests and may disburse and expend such moneys, upon its own warrant, for the use and benefit of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and its students, as the board of trustees deems to be in the best interest of the school and its students. Such money or property shall not constitute or be considered a part of any legislative appropriation.
13. Sell or convey by bill of sale, deed, or other legal instrument any property, real or personal, received as a gift, donation, or bequest, upon such terms and conditions as the board of trustees deems to be in the best interest of the school and its students.
14. Invest such moneys in securities enumerated under s. 215.47(1), (2)(c), (3), (4), and (10), and in The Common Fund, an Investment Management Fund exclusively for nonprofit educational institutions.
(f) The board of trustees shall:
1. Prepare and submit legislative budget requests for operations and fixed capital outlay, in accordance with chapter 216 and ss. 1011.56 and 1013.60, to the Department of Education for review and approval. The department must analyze the amount requested for fixed capital outlay to determine if the request is consistent with the school’s campus master plan, educational plant survey, and facilities master plan. Projections of facility space needs may exceed the norm space and occupant design criteria established in the State Requirements for Educational Facilities.
2. Approve and administer an annual operating budget in accordance with ss. 1011.56 and 1011.57.
3. Require all funds received other than gifts, donations, bequests, funds raised by or belonging to student clubs or student organizations, and funds held for specific students or in accounts for individual students to be deposited in the State Treasury and expended as authorized in the General Appropriations Act.
4. Require all purchases to be in accordance with the provisions of chapter 287 except for purchases made with funds received as gifts, donations, or bequests; funds raised by or belonging to student clubs or student organizations; or funds held for specific students or in accounts for individual students.
5. Administer and maintain personnel programs for all employees of the board of trustees and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind who shall be state employees, including the personnel classification and pay plan established in accordance with ss. 110.205(2)(d) and 216.251(2)(a)2. for academic and academic administrative personnel, the provisions of chapter 110, and the provisions of law that grant authority to the Department of Management Services over such programs for state employees.
6. Give preference in appointment and retention in positions of employment as provided within s. 295.07(1).
7. Ensure that the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind complies with s. 1013.351 concerning the coordination of planning between the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and local governing bodies.
8. Ensure that the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind complies with s. 112.061 concerning per diem and travel expenses of public officers, employees, and authorized persons with respect to all funds other than funds received as gifts, donations, or bequests; funds raised by or belonging to student clubs or student organizations; or funds held for specific students or in accounts for individual students.
9. Adopt a master plan which specifies the mission and objectives of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, procedures for systematically measuring the school’s progress toward meeting its objectives, analyzing changes in the student population, and modifying school programs and services to respond to such changes. The plan shall be for a period of 5 years and shall be reviewed for needed modifications every 2 years. The board of trustees shall submit the initial plan and subsequent modifications to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.
10. Designate a portion of the school as “The Verle Allyn Pope Complex for the Deaf,” in tribute to the late Senator Verle Allyn Pope.
(5) STUDENT AND EMPLOYEE PERSONNEL RECORDS.—The Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall provide for the content and custody of student and employee personnel records. Student records shall be subject to the provisions of s. 1002.22. Employee personnel records shall be subject to the provisions of s. 1012.31.
(6) LEGAL SERVICES.—The Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind may provide legal services for officers and employees of the board of trustees who are charged with civil or criminal actions arising out of and in the course of the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities. The board of trustees may provide for reimbursement of reasonable expenses for legal services for officers and employees of said board of trustees who are charged with civil or criminal actions arising out of and in the course of the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities upon successful defense by the officer or employee. However, in any case in which the officer or employee pleads guilty or nolo contendere or is found guilty of any such action, the officer or employee shall reimburse the board of trustees for any legal services that the board of trustees may have supplied pursuant to this section. The board of trustees may also reimburse an officer or employee thereof for any judgment that may be entered against him or her in a civil action arising out of and in the course of the performance of his or her assigned duties and responsibilities. Each expenditure by the board of trustees for legal defense of an officer or employee, or for reimbursement pursuant to this section, shall be made at a public meeting with notice pursuant to s. 120.525(1). The providing of such legal services or reimbursement under the conditions described in this subsection is declared to be a school purpose for which school funds may be expended.
(7) PERSONNEL SCREENING.—
(a) The Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall, because of the special trust or responsibility of employees of the school, require all employees and applicants for employment to undergo personnel screening and security background investigations as provided in chapter 435, using the level 2 standards for screening set forth in that chapter, as a condition of employment and continued employment. The cost of a personnel screening and security background investigation for an employee of the school shall be paid by the school. The cost of such a screening and investigation for an applicant for employment may be paid by the school.
(b) As a prerequisite for initial and continuing employment at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind:
1. The applicant or employee shall submit to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind a complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or an employee of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind who is trained to take fingerprints. The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall submit the fingerprints to the Department of Law Enforcement for state processing and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal processing.
2.a. The applicant or employee shall attest to the minimum standards for good moral character as contained in chapter 435, using the level 2 standards set forth in that chapter under penalty of perjury.
b. New personnel shall be on a probationary status pending a determination of compliance with such minimum standards for good moral character. This paragraph is in addition to any probationary status provided for by Florida law or Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind rules or collective bargaining contracts.
3. The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall review the record of the applicant or employee with respect to the crimes contained in s. 435.04 and shall notify the applicant or employee of its findings. When disposition information is missing on a criminal record, it shall be the responsibility of the applicant or employee, upon request of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, to obtain and supply within 30 days the missing disposition information to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Failure to supply missing information within 30 days or to show reasonable efforts to obtain such information shall result in automatic disqualification of an applicant and automatic termination of an employee.
4. After an initial personnel screening and security background investigation, written notification shall be given to the affected employee within a reasonable time prior to any subsequent screening and investigation.
(c) The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind may grant exemptions from disqualification as provided in s. 435.07.
(d) The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind may not use the criminal records, private investigator findings, or information reference checks obtained by the school pursuant to this section for any purpose other than determining if a person meets the minimum standards for good moral character for personnel employed by the school. The criminal records, private investigator findings, and information from reference checks obtained by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind for determining the moral character of employees of the school are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(e) It is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person willfully, knowingly, or intentionally to:
1. Fail, by false statement, misrepresentation, impersonation, or other fraudulent means, to disclose in any application for voluntary or paid employment a material fact used in making a determination as to such person’s qualifications for a position of special trust.
2. Use the criminal records, private investigator findings, or information from reference checks obtained under this section or information obtained from such records or findings for purposes other than screening for employment or release such information or records to persons for purposes other than screening for employment.
(f) For the purpose of teacher certification, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind shall be considered a school district.
(a) The Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is permitted and empowered to employ police officers for the school, who must be designated Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind campus police.
(b) Each Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind campus police officer is a law enforcement officer of the state and a conservator of the peace who has the authority to arrest, in accordance with the laws of this state, any person for a violation of state law or applicable county or municipal ordinance if that violation occurs on or in any property or facilities of the school. A campus police officer may also arrest a person off campus for a violation committed on campus after a hot pursuit of that person which began on campus. A campus police officer shall have full authority to bear arms in the performance of the officer’s duties and carry out a search pursuant to a search warrant on the campus. Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind campus police, upon request of the sheriff or local police authority, may serve subpoenas or other legal process and may make arrests of persons against whom arrest warrants have been issued or against whom charges have been made for violations of federal or state laws or county or municipal ordinances. Campus police officers shall have authority to enforce traffic laws within the boundaries of the campus in accordance with s. 316.640.
(c) The campus police shall promptly deliver all persons arrested and charged with felonies to the sheriff of the county within which the school is located and all persons arrested and charged with misdemeanors to the applicable authority as provided by law, but otherwise to the sheriff of the county in which the school is located.
(d) The campus police must meet the minimum standards established by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission of the Department of Law Enforcement and chapter 943 for law enforcement officers. Each campus police officer must, before entering into the performance of the officer’s duties, take the oath of office established by the board of trustees. The board of trustees must provide a uniform set of identifying credentials to each campus police officer it employs.
(e) In performance of any of the powers, duties, and functions authorized by law, campus police have the same rights, protections, and immunities afforded other law enforcement officers.
(f) The board of trustees shall adopt rules, including, without limitation, rules for the appointment, employment, and removal of campus police in accordance with the State Career Service System and shall establish in writing a policy manual, that includes, without limitation, procedures for managing routine law enforcement situations and emergency law enforcement situations. The board of trustees shall furnish a copy of the policy manual to each of the campus police officers it employs. A campus police officer appointed by the board of trustees must have completed the training required by the school in the special needs and proper procedures for dealing with students served by the school.
(9) REPORT OF CAMPUS CRIME STATISTICS.—
(a) The school shall prepare an annual report of statistics of crimes committed on its campus and shall submit the report to the board of trustees and the Commissioner of Education. The data for these reports may be taken from the annual report of the Department of Law Enforcement. The board of trustees shall prescribe the form for submission of these reports.
(b) The school shall prepare annually a report of statistics of crimes committed on its campus for the preceding 3 years. The school shall give students and prospective students notice that this report is available upon request.
History.—s. 101, ch. 2002-387; s. 1944, ch. 2003-261; s. 65, ch. 2004-267; s. 3, ch. 2004-331; s. 1, ch. 2006-132; s. 4, ch. 2006-205; s. 15, ch. 2008-108; s. 96, ch. 2009-21.