Charter School Frequently Asked Questions

To whom should parent complaints, concerns, and requests for assistance be directed?

It is important to understand that although charter schools are publicly funded, they are privately operated. Therefore, the School District has no jurisdiction over the day-to-day operations of a charter school. The School District is not the employer of any charter school administrators, faculty, or staff.

In general, parents should directs complains, concerns, and requests for assistance in the following order:

  • First, to the teacher or other staff member most directly involved with the issue at hand.
  • Second, to the principal of the charter school.
  • Third, to the education service provider that is contracted to provide charter school services (if the school uses such a company).
  • Fourth, to the governing board that holds the charter for the school. This board has full responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the school.

If efforts to resolve the issue with all of these school authorities have failed, parents should contact the District's charter school liaison for further information.

May a student transfer from a District-operated school to a charter school at any time?

Yes. A student may transfer from a District-operated school to a charter school at any time of the school year, including during FTE Survey periods.

May a student transfer from a charter school to a District-operated school at any time?

Section Section 1002.33(10)(g), F.S. provides that “A student may withdraw from a charter school at any time and enroll in another public school as determined by district school board rule.” According to Section (6)(r) of School Board Policy 2.28, “Parents/guardians may withdraw a student from a charter school at any time.”

Students who are currently suspended from a charter school may be withdrawn from that charter school during the suspension.

To withdraw students during quarters 1, 2, or 3, the parents/guardians may withdraw by completing the appropriate forms at the charter school. To withdraw a student from a charter during the fourth quarter of the academic year, the parents/guardians must first notify the District's Department of Student Assignment and obtain a waiver, and may then complete the appropriate forms at the charter school. During the fourth quarter of the academic year, charter schools may not initiate or complete a withdrawal without a waiver. Parents/guardians of students who have withdrawn from a charter school may request a school assignment from the District student assignment office. In addition, a charter school may not expel, withdraw or transfer a student involuntarily, unless the withdrawal or transfer is accomplished through Board Policy or administrative procedure. Charter schools must ensure that no pressure, coercion, negotiation, or other inappropriate inducement may be used to attempt to have parents/guardians withdraw students from the charter school. Charter schools must provide sufficient training and oversight to staff members to prevent improper withdrawals. Charter schools shall promptly readmit and reenroll any student who has been inadvertently or improperly withdrawn. The Charter School shall not transfer an enrolled student to another charter school without first obtaining the written approval of the student's parent."

May a charter school or a District-operated school delay withdrawing a student transferring to a charter school until school property such as textbooks, uniforms, equipment, and instruments are collected?

Schools have an obligation to collect such property at the time of withdrawal, and should ask students, parents, and guardians to return them promptly. Such collections, however, should not delay the withdrawal of students to charter schools. It is appropriate for the receiving school to assist the sending school in recovering any unreturned school property from the transferred student.

May charter school students enroll in Driver Education courses at District-operated schools?

There is no statute or policy that governs Driver Education access for charter schools. On occasion, the District's practice has been that charter students would be eligible to take Driver Education at a high school during the summer session if that District-operated high school has an opening. This means that students in District-operated high schools have first priority to take Driver Education, then if a vacancy occurs the Charter School student would be allowed to enroll. This has also been made available for Saturday driver education programs. This is not a contractual or statutory obligation of the District, and can be modified or suspended at any time.

Who is responsible for providing textbooks to charter school students participating in dual enrollment programs?

Each charter school is obligated to provide textbooks for its students who choose dual enrollment. The statute that governs this issue is §1007.271(17), F.S.: “Instructional materials assigned for use within dual enrollment courses shall be made available to dual enrollment students from Florida public high schools free of charge.” Since charter high schools are public high schools, this statute applies.

Bills enacted by the 2013 Florida Legislature modified how various dual enrollment and early admission programs function in Florida.

FLDOE has published technical guidance on dual enrollment and early admission programs function. This includes discussion of the participation of charter school students.

Dual enrollment and early admission programs are governed by statute and by required articulation agreements between School Districts and Florida colleges and universities. Charter schools may optionally be included in these articulation agreement, or charter schools may negotiate their own agreements with the postsecondary institution.

In Lee County, the District's current articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions do not include any Lee County charter schools. These agreements are available at online.

Charter schools must comply with certain requirements for dual enrollment and early admissions programs, including but not limited to the provision of textbooks and the distribution of costs. Charter school payments to the postsecondary institution for charter school student participation in dual enrollment will be established in the Dual Enrollment Articulation Agreement between the postsecondary institution and the charter school.

May charter schools prohibit their students from accessing virtual school options?

The Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is a public school in Florida, and is one of several virtual public education options available. Other choices include the Lee Virtual Instruction Program (LVIP), a local public virtual school operated by the School District of Lee County. Neither FLVS nor LVIP are charter schools.

As stipulated by Section.1002.20, F.S., parents have the right to choose educational options such as virtual schools for their children. Section 1002.37(3)(c), F.S., clearly states that school districts may not limit student access to FLVS courses. However, the school counselor will determine if a particular course is academically appropriate for the student based upon the student's academic history, grade level, and age.

Students in District-operated schools are free to choose virtual programs, but this may not be the case for students in privately-run charter schools. The section of the statutes authorizing virtual school choices appears in a special range of Chapters (1000-10013). This is important because charter schools are exempt from almost all statutes in that range by virtue of Section 1002.33(16)(a), F.S. Therefore, any charter school may prohibit its students from accessing choice options such as the Florida Virtual School.

Do charter schools in Lee County provide voluntary prekindergarten services?

Charter schools in Lee County may elect to provide prekindergarten services as private providers via Florida's voluntary prekindergarten program. However, this activity is an independent action of the charter school's governing board, and is not part of the school's charter contract with the School Board.