High-Impact Charter Management Organizations

This bill (SB 796 by Sen. Aaron Bean) will help thousands of Florida’s low-income students gain a quality education by removing administrative barriers and creating a supportive environment for high impact charter management organizations to operate and serve educationally disadvantaged students.

Background:

Nationwide, several non-profit education management organizations, such as KIPP, Success Academies, Great Heart Academies and others, have achieved notable and swift success serving the populations in most need, including lowest-income and lowest-performing. In Florida, the only high-impact charter networks are KIPP-Jacksonville and SEED in Miami-Dade. Many of Florida’s in-state charters are high performing but limited in their ability to expand and serve Florida’s those students most in need.

To strengthen school options for our students—especially those at risk—Florida must create incentives to attract high-impact charter networks. The state must also implement policies that allow successful, homegrown schools to expand their reach. Consideration should also be given to these networks, allowing them to serve as a turnaround option for low-performing schools.

Bill Summary:

    • Creates a “High-Impact Charter Management Organization” (CMO) network, meaning a non-profit organization serving a critical need area that successfully operates a system of charter schools serving primarily educationally disadvantaged students.
    • Authorizes the State Board of Education to designate High-Impact CMOs and to review student demographic, achievement and financial data for all schools currently and previously operated by the CMO.
    • Limits the initial designation period of a High-Impact CMO to no more than five years.
    • Removes administrative barriers and supports growth for High-Impact CMOs by:
      • Authorizing submission of an application to a local school board to establish and operate charter schools;
      • Authorizing designation as a local education agency for the purposes of receiving federal funds;
      • Providing eligibility for capital outlay funds;
      • Waiving administrative fees; and
      • Giving new charter schools operating in a critical need area priority in public charter school grant competitions.
    • Exempts High-Impact CMOs serving a critical need area from automatic termination of contract if a school earns two consecutive grades of “F” if existing criteria are met and continues requirements for improvement and removes satisfactory school performance/school grade as an eligibility requirement for charter school capital outlay.
    • Requires the Florida Department of Education to provide school districts with technical assistance to ensure the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) federal funds are allocated to charter schools using an appropriate methodology.