2015 Legislative Platform

FLORIDA CHARTER SCHOOLS UNVEIL 2015 LEGISLATIVE PLATFORM

January 22, 2015 – The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS), the state’s leading charter school support and advocacy association representing more than 500 public charter schools, released its 2015 Legislative Platform today. The legislative priorities reflect the views of FCPCS member schools, including grassroots charter school operators, charter school stakeholders, and FCPCS Board Members. Recommendations developed by the Task Force on Quality Charter School Authorizing in Florida are also included in the platform.

Organized by FCPCS, the Task Force on Quality Charter School Authorizing is co-chaired by State Representative Janet Adkins (R-11) and Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, and is made up of charter school and school district representatives from around Florida. The Task Force created a new spirit of collaboration between public charter schools and their district sponsors, while also working to improve the quality of charter schools in the state. "Our legislators asked us to work together on issues and concerns and come back to them with recommendations. That's exactly what we did," said Robert Haag, President.

The 2015 Legislative Platform listed below will direct FCPCS’s efforts and inform discussions with state legislators in Tallahassee during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session.

PRIORITY 1: Charter School Capital Outlay

Identify a recurring funding source to augment or replace Florida’s Gross Receipts Tax as the current sole funding source for Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) fund.

PRIORITY 2: High Needs Charter Schools and Application Process

Create/amend current Florida Statutes to permit local school districts to release RFP’s specifically to authorize charter schools intended to serve students residing in identified “High Needs” areas.

PRIORITY 3: Charter School Facilities

Require that the district sponsor receive the certificate of occupancy or temporary certificate of occupancy for the facility named in the charter agreement no less than 15 days prior to the first day of school. If a charter school cannot secure a certificate of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy by the 15th day prior to the first day of school, the first year of the charter shall automatically revert to a planning year, in which the school may not enroll students.

PRIORITY 4: Charter School Applicant’s Fiscal Soundness

New charter school applicants must show verified proof of a line of credit, public officials bond, secured escrow account or grant commitment equal to or greater than $250,000 to insure applicant is able to cover reasonably anticipated cost of startup operations.

The formal session of the 2015 Florida Legislature begins on March 3.

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