Strengthen Florida statute 1013.62 (5) in the 2022 Florida legislative session

Are you watching the 2022 Florida legislative session? There are lots of issues involving education including funding for teacher salaries and more mental health counselors.

This issue is about safeguarding our tax dollars that are designated for capital outlay funds. Please urge our legislators to strengthen F.S. 1013.62 (5) in at least two ways

  1. Allow the school board to deny new charter applications if 100% of the local tax capital outlay funds and the assets they purchased can’t be recouped by the school district if the charter school closes
  2. Allow the school district to withhold distributions of the capital outlay funds until the charter contract stipulates how the capital outlay funds and the assets they purchase can be recouped if the charter school closes

The goal of this suggestion (as an amendment to a bill) will be to keep the assets purchased with capital outlay dollars within the public school system if the charter school should close. It is important that the public know that charter schools are skirting the law by making lease payments to related parties rather than owning the building. If the charter school owned the building then it would be easier to keep the building in the public school system for another charter school or the district to use if the charter school should close. As it stands now, our sales surtax and local property tax money’s investment will be lost if the charter school closes and a private entity owns the building. Giving away tax revenues with few strings attached is not an effective way of meeting policy objectives or managing public finances. It is clear that without a legally enforceable contract specifying the obligations of the respective parties, an economic incentive will be considered a gift. I don’t think anyone wants our sales surtax or local property tax money to be a gift to private investors. Capital outlay dollars and the assets they purchase should stay within the public school system.

Possible bills this amendment could be added to:
HB 225 and its companion bill SB 892
HB 609 and its companion bill SB 622
HB 865 and its companion bill SB 758

f.s. 1013.62 (5) reads in part:
(5) If a charter school is nonrenewed or terminated, any unencumbered funds and all equipment and property purchased with district public funds shall revert to the ownership of the district school board, as provided for in s. 1002.33(8)(e) and (f). … If there are additional local issues such as the shared use of facilities or partial ownership of facilities or property, these issues shall be agreed to in the charter contract prior to the expenditure of funds.

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