Charter Schools (Sections 9, 36, 37, 42, 45)
- Charter school may defer opening for 3 years: The bill increased from two to three years the time that an approved charter applicant may defer the opening of their school to provide time for adequate facility planning.
- Consolidation: A charter school that is not subject to a school improvement plan (has a grade of “C” or higher) thatcloses as part of a consolidation shall be reported by the school district as a consolidation.
- Clear and convincing evidence for closure: A school district seeking to terminate or not renew a charter contract must have clear and convincing evidence if it finds it has grounds to do so. If one of those grounds is a violation of law, it has to be amaterial violation of law.
- School district administrative fees: School districts must provide to the department by September 15 of each year the total amount of funding withheld in administrative fees. The information must be included in the department’s annual report on charter school authorizing activity.
- Background screening results: A district school board must reimburse a charter school the cost of background screening if it does not notify the charter school of the eligibility of governing board members or instructional or non-instructional personnel within 14 days after receipt of the background screening results from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or 30 days after submission of fingerprints by the governing board member or instructional or non-instructional personnel.
- School leader preparation program:
Charter schools or charter management organizations, in addition to post-secondary institutions and school districts, may submit to the department an application to establish a Level I school leader preparation program for approval.
Charter schools or charter management organizations, in addition to school districts, may submit to the department an application to establish a Level II school leader preparation program for approval or renewal.
- Change in discretionary millage fund sharing: School districts are not required to share 1.5 mill discretionary millage funds with charter schools for the 2018-2019 school year; however, school districts are not prohibited from sharing these funds with charter schools.
Beginning in fiscal year 2019-2020, charter school capital outlay funding shall consist of state funds when such funds are appropriated in the General Appropriations Act and revenue resulting from the discretionary millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2), F.S., if the amount of state funds appropriated for charter school capital outlay in any fiscal year is less than the average charter school capital outlay funds per unweighted full-time equivalent student for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, multiplied by the estimated number of charter school students for the applicable fiscal year, and adjusted by changes in the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States Department of Labor from the previous fiscal year.
- Charter school applications submission: School districts shall receive and consider charter school applications received on or before February 1 of each calendar year for charter schools to be opened 18 months later at the beginning of the school district’s school year, or at a time determined by the applicant.
- Availability of tangible property: Tangible property that is surplus, marked for disposal or otherwise unused by a school district shall be provided for a charter school’s use on the same basis as it is made available to other public schools. A charter school receiving such property may not sell or dispose of it without the written permission of the school district.
- By October 1 of each year, each school district shall certify to the department the amount of debt service and participation requirement that complies with the requirement of paragraph (a) and can be reduced from the total discretionary millage revenue. The Auditor General shall verify compliance with the requirements of paragraph (a) and s. 1011.71(2)(e), F.S., during scheduled operational audits of school districts.
If you have any questions about the information above, contact: Adam Emerson at the Florida Department of Education, Adam.Emerson@fldoe.org