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2001 Opinions

Date:   May 29, 2001
Prepared By:   James A. Robinson
Phone:   (850) 488-7707
Suncom:   278-7707
Opinion No.:   01-08
Staff Contact:   Diane McCain
TO: Wayne V. Pierson, Deputy Commissioner for Planning, Budgeting and Management
FROM: James A. Robinson, General Counsel
SUBJECT: Status of Charter Schools in FEFP Sparsity Supplement
RE: Question raised by Rick Shirley, Sumter County School Superintendent

QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether a charter school may count as a senior high school
center for purposes of computing the district sparsity index pursuant to Section 236.081(6), Florida Statutes?

CONCLUSION: No. A charter school should not count.

DISCUSSION: A charter school exists under contract with the sponsoring district for a limited
period (i.e., not to exceed 15 years); they are not owned by the sponsoring district; and their facilities are not included in facilities surveys Florida Inventory of School Houses.

Section 236.081(6)(b), Florida Statutes, provides for departmental discretion in determining what is and is not a permanent center. High school centers count, for purposes of the index, only if they are approved as permanent centers by a survey made by the Department of Education.

Accordingly, as is currently true of exceptional student education centers, alternative centers, dropout prevention centers, and Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, charter schools, with the exception of conversion schools, are not approved as permanent high school centers by the
Department of Education for purposes of computing the district sparsity index. This opinion is consistent with the current policy as expressed in the attached Policy for Determining High School Centers as it Pertains to Sparsity Supplement.



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