Is there transparency regarding educational service providers?
Florida law permits charter schools to contract with education service providers.
State board regulations require the use of a model charter application form, which requires details on any proposed ESP agreements, including services, performance evaluation measures, fee structure, renewal and termination provisions, and how the relationship with the ESP will further the school’s mission. Regulations also require the application to detail why the ESP was selected, what due diligence efforts were conducted to inform the selection, a summary of the ESP’s history, the background and experience of senior management, and student and financial performance data from other schools using this ESP.
The state’s model charter contract form requires the inclusion of any ESP agreement and provides that any changes to the ESP agreement require charter contract modification and approval.
Regulations require the application to explain how the charter school’s governing board will ensure an “arm’s length,” performance-based relationship between the governing board and the ESP. In addition, state law provides that an employee of the charter school, or his or her spouse, or an employee of a charter management organization, or his or her spouse, may not be a member of the governing board of the charter school.
The state’s model application (which was adopted as a rule by the state board of education and therefore has the force of law) requires an applicant to describe the oversight and evaluation methods that the board will use to oversee the ESP and requires an authorizer to use evaluation criteria that includes a description of how the school’s governing board has a clear plan for holding the ESP accountable for negotiated performance.
The model application also must include a description of the spending decisions the management organization can make without obtaining governing board approval, what reports the ESP must submit to the board on financial performance, and on what schedule, and how the governing board will provide financial oversight.
The Florida statute requires all employees and contractors to undergo background screening.