(1) A charter school is a high-performing charter school if it: (a)1. Received at least two school grades of “A” and no school grade below “B,” pursuant to s. 1008.34, during each of the previous 3 school years or received at least two consecutive school grades of “A” in the most recent 2 school years for the years that the school received a grade; or 2. Receives, during its first 3 years of operation, funding through the National Fund of the Charter School Growth Fund, and has received no school grade lower than a “C,” pursuant to s. 1008.34, during each of the previous 3 school years for the years that the school received a grade. (b) Received an unqualified opinion on each annual financial audit required under s. 218.39 in the most recent 3 fiscal years for which such audits are available. (c) Did not receive a financial audit that revealed one or more of the financial emergency conditions set forth in s. 218.503(1) in the most recent 3 fiscal years for which such audits are available. However, this requirement is deemed met for a charter school-in-the-workplace if there is a finding in an audit that the school has the monetary resources available to cover any reported deficiency or that the deficiency does not result in a deteriorating financial condition pursuant to s. 1002.345(1)(a)3.
For purposes of determining initial eligibility, the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) only apply for the most recent 2 fiscal years if the charter school earns two consecutive grades of “A.” A virtual charter school established under s. 1002.33 is not eligible for designation as a high-performing charter school.
(2) A high-performing charter school is authorized to:
(a) Increase its student enrollment once per school year to more than the capacity identified in the charter, but student enrollment may not exceed the capacity of the facility at the time the enrollment increase will take effect. Facility capacity for purposes of expansion shall include any improvements to an existing facility or any new facility in which the students of the high-performing charter school will enroll.
(b) Expand grade levels within kindergarten through grade 12 to add grade levels not already served if any annual enrollment increase resulting from grade level expansion is within the limit established in paragraph (a).
(c) Submit a quarterly, rather than a monthly, financial statement to the sponsor pursuant to s. 1002.33(9)(g).
(d) Consolidate under a single charter the charters of multiple high-performing charter schools operated in the same school district by the charter schools’ governing board regardless of the renewal cycle.
(e) Receive a modification of its charter to a term of 15 years or a 15-year charter renewal. The charter may be modified or renewed for a shorter term at the option of the high-performing charter school. The charter must be consistent with s. 1002.33(7)(a)19. and (10)(h) and (i), is subject to annual review by the sponsor, and may be terminated during its term pursuant to s. 1002.33(8).
A high-performing charter school shall notify its sponsor in writing by March 1 if it intends to increase enrollment or expand grade levels the following school year. The written notice shall specify the amount of the enrollment increase and the grade levels that will be added, as applicable. If a charter school notifies the sponsor of its intent to expand, the sponsor shall modify the charter within 90 days to include the new enrollment maximum and may not make any other changes. The sponsor may deny a request to increase the enrollment of a high-performing charter school if the commissioner has declassified the charter school as high-performing. If a high-performing charter school requests to consolidate multiple charters, the sponsor shall have 40 days after receipt of that request to provide an initial draft charter to the charter school. The sponsor and charter school shall have 50 days thereafter to negotiate and notice the charter contract for final approval by the sponsor.
(3)(a)1. A high-performing charter school may submit an application pursuant to s. 1002.33(6) in any school district in the state to establish and operate a new charter school that will substantially replicate its educational program. An application submitted by a high-performing charter school must state that the application is being submitted pursuant to this paragraph and must include the verification letter provided by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (4). 2. If the sponsor fails to act on the application within 90 days after receipt, the application is deemed approved and the procedure in s. 1002.33(7) applies.
(b) A high-performing charter school may submit two applications for a charter school to be opened within this state under paragraph (a) at a time determined by the high-performing charter school. A subsequent application to establish a charter school under paragraph (a) may not be submitted unless each charter school applicant commences operations or an application is otherwise withdrawn. However, a high-performing charter school may establish more than one charter school within this state under paragraph (a) in any year if it operates in the area of a persistently low-performing school and serves students from that school. This paragraph applies to any high-performing charter school with an existing approved application.
(4) The Commissioner of Education, upon request by a charter school, shall verify that the charter school meets the criteria in subsection (1) and provide a letter to the charter school and the sponsor stating that the charter school is a high-performing charter school pursuant to this section. The commissioner shall annually determine whether a high-performing charter school under subsection (1) continues to meet the criteria in that subsection. Such high-performing charter school shall maintain its high-performing status unless the commissioner determines that the charter school no longer meets the criteria in subsection (1), at which time the commissioner shall send a letter providing notification of its declassification as a high-performing charter school.
(5) A high-performing charter school replicated under this section may not be replicated as a virtual charter school.