1002.45 School district virtual instruction programs.

(1) PROGRAM.–

(a) Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, each school district shall provide eligible students within its boundaries the option of participating in a virtual instruction program. The purpose of the program is to make instruction available to students using online and distance learning technology in the nontraditional classroom. The program shall provide virtual instruction to full-time students enrolled in full-time virtual courses in kindergarten through grade 8 or in full-time or part-time virtual courses in grades 9 through 12 as authorized in paragraph (7)(c).

(b) Each school district’s virtual instruction program may consist of one or more schools that are operated by the district or by contracted providers approved by the Department of Education under subsection (2). School districts may participate in multidistrict contractual arrangements, which may include contracts executed by a regional consortium for its member districts, to provide such programs.

(c) A charter school may enter into a joint agreement with the school district in which it is located for the charter school’s students to participate in an approved district virtual instruction program.

(2) PROVIDER QUALIFICATIONS.–On or before March 1, 2009, and annually thereafter, the department shall provide school districts with a list of providers approved to offer virtual instruction. To be approved by the department, a contract provider must annually document that it:

(a) Is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and operations;

(b) Complies with the antidiscrimination provisions of s. 1000.05;

(c) Locates an administrative office or offices in this state, requires its administrative staff to be state residents, and requires all instructional staff members to be Florida-certified teachers;

(d) Possesses prior, successful experience offering online courses to elementary, middle, or high school students;

(e) Utilizes an instructional model that relies on certified teachers, not parents, to provide at least 85 percent of the instruction to the student;

(f) Is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, or the New England Association of Colleges and Schools; and

(g) Complies with all requirements under this section.

Notwithstanding this subsection, approved providers of virtual instruction shall include the Florida Virtual School established under s. 1002.37 and providers that operate under s. 1002.415.

(3) SCHOOL DISTRICT VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS.–Each virtual instruction program operated or contracted by a school district must:

(a) Require all instructional staff to be certified professional educators under chapter 1012.

(b) Conduct a background screening of all employees or contracted personnel, as required by s. 1012.32, using state and national criminal history records.

(c) Align virtual course curriculum and course content to the Sunshine State Standards under s. 1003.41.

(d) Offer instruction that is designed to enable a student to gain proficiency in each virtually delivered course of study.

(e) Provide each student enrolled in the program with all the necessary instructional materials.

(f) Provide, when appropriate, each household having a full-time student enrolled in the program with:

1. All equipment necessary for participants in the school district virtual instruction program, including, but not limited to, a computer, computer monitor, and printer; and

2. Access to or reimbursement for all Internet services necessary for online delivery of instruction.

(g) Not require tuition or student registration fees.

(4) PROGRAM CAPACITY; ENROLLMENT.–Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, except for courses offered by the Florida Virtual School under s. 1002.37, a school district may not increase the enrollment for its full-time virtual instruction program in excess of its prior school year enrollment unless the program for the previous school year is designated with a grade of “C,” making satisfactory progress, or better under the school grading system provided in s. 1008.34.

(5) STUDENT ELIGIBILITY.–Enrollment in a school district virtual instruction program is open to any student residing within the district’s attendance area if the student meets at least one of the following conditions:

(a) The student has spent the prior school year in attendance at a public school in this state and was enrolled and reported by a public school district for funding during the preceding October and February for purposes of the Florida Education Finance Program surveys.

(b) The student is a dependent child of a member of the United States Armed Forces who was transferred within the last 12 months to this state from another state or from a foreign country pursuant to the parent’s permanent change of station orders.

(c) The student was enrolled during the prior school year in a school district virtual instruction program under this section or a K-8 Virtual School Program under s. 1002.415.

(6) STUDENT PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS.–Each student enrolled in a school district virtual instruction program must:

(a) Comply with the compulsory attendance requirements of s. 1003.21. Student attendance must be verified by the school district.

(b) Take state assessment tests within the school district in which such student resides, which must provide the student with access to the district’s testing facilities.

(7) FUNDING.–

(a) For purposes of a district virtual instruction program, “full-time equivalent student” has the same meaning as provided in s. 1011.61(1)(c)1.b.(III) or (IV).

(b) The school district shall report full-time equivalent students for the school district virtual instruction program and for a charter school’s students who participate under paragraph (1)(c) to the department only in a manner prescribed by the department, and funding shall be provided through the Florida Education Finance Program.

(c) Full-time or part-time school district virtual instruction program courses provided under this section for students in grades 9 through 12 are limited to Department of Juvenile Justice programs, dropout prevention programs, and career and vocational programs.

(8) ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY.–

(a) With the exception of the programs offered by the Florida Virtual School under s. 1002.37, each school district virtual instruction program must:

1. Participate in the statewide assessment program under s.