Legislative Priorities 2015

2015 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR FLORIDA CHARTER SCHOOLS ANNOUNCED

Florida - March 3, 2015 - Below are the priorities developed by the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools – the state’s leading charter school advocacy and support organization. These priorities reflect the views of the more than 400 Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) member schools, including grassroots charter school operators, charter school stakeholders, FCPCS Board Members, and recommendations from the Task Force on Quality Charter School Authorizing.

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. The construction dollars from the state are the only source of facility funding charter schools receive, and only charter schools that have been in operation for three years, and have met accountability requirements, qualify. The funds are divided among eligible schools and the allocation has not increased proportionately with the growth in enrollment. School districts get PECO and also have several other options to increase revenues if construction needs arise – including the use of Certificates of Participation (COPS) and asking voters for an added millage allocation for major construction, maintenance or operational projects. Charter schools do not have that option.

High Needs Charter Schools and Application Process

Create/amend current Florida Statutes to permit school districts to release RFPs to encourage charter schools to open in identified “high needs” areas.

Charter School Facilities

Require that the school district / charter school 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.

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.

# # #