School Board of Charlotte County
Bylaws & Policies
 

2520 - SELECTION, ADOPTION, AND REVIEW OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

The School Board adopts courses of study pursuant to state law. When adopting courses of study, state law requires the Board to adopt and provide adequate instructional materials to students enrolled in the District.

"Adequate instructional materials" means a sufficient number of student or site licenses or sets of materials that are available in bound, unbound, kit, or package form and may consist of hard-backed or soft-backed textbooks, electronic content, consumables, learning laboratories, manipulatives, electronic media, and computer courseware or software that serves as the basis for instruction for each student in the core courses of mathematics, language arts, social studies, science, reading, and literature.

Furthermore, federal law requires the Board to provide accessible instructional materials as specified in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). Such accessible instructional materials may be of a type or in a format as specified in the definition of adequate instructional materials in this policy.

As required by state law, instructional materials adopted and used in the District shall be consistent with the goals and objectives in the District's adopted course of study and with the course descriptions established by State Board rule. The Board is responsible for the content of all instructional materials and any other materials used in a classroom, made available in a school library, or included on a reading list.

Upon written request, an individual will be provided access to material or books specified in the written request that are maintained in a District library when such material or books are available for review. The school principal shall arrange to provide such access. The Board shall maintain on its website a current list of instructional materials, by grade level, purchased by the District.

The Superintendent shall develop administrative procedures that set forth a process to involve staff in the review and evaluation of instructional materials. The staff involved in this process shall recommend to the Superintendent for submission to the Board for adoption of the instructional materials that address the goals and objectives for adopted courses of study and the course descriptions established by State Board rule. The instructional materials shall be from the state-adopted instructional materials list if there has been a state adoption or from publishers and other resources if there has not been a state adoption.

The Superintendent's procedures shall also prescribe the process for the acquisition, management, use, accountability, and reporting requirements of all instructional materials.

Adoption of Instructional Materials

Instructional materials will be accessible for review online for at least twenty (20) calendar days prior to the open, publicly noticed meeting at which a public hearing will be held so that the Board can receive comment, if any, about the instructional material under consideration for adoption. The Superintendent shall establish reasonable safeguards against the unauthorized use, reproduction, and distribution of the instructional material under consideration.

Following the public hearing, the Board shall act upon the Superintendent's recommendation to adopt the instructional materials.

At an open, publicly noticed meeting held on a different date than the meeting at which the instructional material is adopted, the Board shall consider a recommendation to approve an annual instructional materials plan that identifies any instructional materials to be purchased pursuant to the instructional materials review process described herein.

The Superintendent shall maintain a list of all adopted instructional materials.

Process for Petitioners to Contest the Adoption Specific Instructional Materials

Parents of students attending a public school in the District or residents, within the meaning of Florida law, of Charlotte County (petitioners) may contest the Board's adoption of specific instructional material. The petitioner must file a petition with the Board within thirty (30) calendar days after the Board's adoption of specific instructional material on a form provided by the Board. The petition form shall be publicly available by visiting any school in person or by accessing the link on the Board's website.

The petition must be signed by the petitioner, include the required contact information, and state the objection to the instructional material, based on the following criteria set forth in F.S. 1006.31(2) or 1006.40(3)(d).

In the selection of instructional materials, library media, and other reading material used in the public school system, the standards used to determine the propriety of the material shall include:

 

A.

The age of the students who normally could be expected to have access to the material;

     
 

B.

The educational purpose to be served by the material;

     
   

Priority shall be given to the selection of materials that align with the applicable State Standards as provided for in F.S. 1003.41 and include the instructional objectives contained within the curriculum frameworks for career and technical education and adult general education adopted by rule of the State Board of Education under F.S. 1004.92.

     
 

C.

The degree to which the material would be supplemented and explained by mature classroom instruction as part of a normal classroom instructional program;

     
 

D.

The consideration of the broad racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural diversity of the students of this state.

Any materials purchased must be:

 

A.

Free of pornography and material prohibited under F.S. 847.012;

     
 

B.

Suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented;

     
 

C.

Appropriate for the grade level and age group for which the materials are used or made available.

When the thirty (30) calendar day period following Board adoption of the instructional material in question has expired, the Board will conduct within the next thirty (30) calendar days at least one (1) open, public hearing before an unbiased and qualified hearing officer on all petitions timely received. The hearing officer may not be an employee or agent of the School District. The hearing must provide sufficient procedural protections to allow each petitioner an adequate and fair opportunity to be heard and present evidence to the hearing officer. The hearing officer shall be appointed by the Superintendent from a pool of candidates selected by the Board.

Procedures for Hearings

Petitioners will have an adequate and fair opportunity to be heard and present evidence to the hearing officer. Hearings shall be conducted as follows:

 

A.

The petitioner may make an opening statement;

     
 

B.

The District's representative may make an opening statement;

     
 

C.

The petitioner may present evidence (including documents and testimony for witnesses) that instructional material does not meet the criteria of F.S. 1006.31(2) or 1006.40(3)(d);

     
 

D.

The District representative may present evidence (including documents and testimony from witnesses) that the instructional material does meet the criteria of F.S. 1006.31(2) or 1006.40(3)(d);

     
 

E.

The petitioner may make a closing statement;

     
 

F.

The District representative may make a closing statement.

Within fourteen (14) days of the date of the hearing, the hearing officer shall submit a recommended order to the Board. The Board shall consider the recommended order and enter a final order at a publicly noticed Board meeting. If the petitioner proves that instructional material does not meet the criteria required under F.S. 1006.28, or contains prohibited material under that statute, it shall be removed in accordance with Florida law. The Board's decision is final and not subject to further petition or review.

Hearings under this policy are not subject to the provisions of F.S. Chapter 120.

The hearings will be public, recorded, and there shall be no requirement that public comment be received by the hearing officer.

The Board's decision after convening a public hearing is final and not subject to further petition or review.

Purchase of Instructional Materials

The Superintendent shall notify the Florida Department of Education by April 1st of each year of the state-adopted instructional materials that will be requisitioned for use in the School District. The notification shall include the adopted Board plan for instructional materials in order to assist the Department in determining if adequate instructional materials have been requisitioned. Following such adoption and notification, requisitions shall be issued to purchase current instructional materials from the state-adopted instructional materials list so that each student in kindergarten through grade 12 will have a major tool of instruction in core courses of the subject areas of mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, reading, and literature.

Requisitions shall also be issued to purchase instructional materials that will be the major tool of instruction for subjects in the State Course Code Directory for which the Board has adopted courses of study, but for which there are no materials on the state-adopted instructional materials list.

Any materials purchased shall be free of pornography and material prohibited under F.S. 847.12, suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented, and appropriate for the grade level and age group for which the materials are used or made available.

The Superintendent shall approve these purchases.

In any year in which the total instructional materials allocation for District has not been expended or obligated prior to June 30th, the unobligated amount shall be carried forward and added to the next year's allocation.

Replacement and Purchase of Instructional Materials by Students/Parents

Students shall be held responsible for the cost of replacing any instructional materials lost, destroyed, or unnecessarily damaged. Failure to provide payment for the damage or loss may result in the suspension of the student from participation in extra-curricular activities, or the debt may be satisfied by the student performing community service activities at the school site as determined by the school principal.

A student or his/her parent(s) may purchase a copy of the designated course instructional materials, regardless of format, for the District's purchase price, including shipping, plus ten percent (10%) for administrative fee. Teacher editions shall not be sold or otherwise made available to parents or students.

Cost of materials may be charged for materials used in those activities beyond the basic curriculum in which a student elects to participate, particularly in activities where the product becomes the property of the student.

Process for Petitioners to Object to the Use of Specific Instructional Materials

Parents of a student attending a District school or a resident of Charlotte County (petitioners) may object to the use of specific instructional material. The petitioner will be provided an opportunity to proffer evidence to the Board that:

 

A.

An instructional material does not meet the criteria of F.S. 1006.31(2) or 1006.40(3)(d) if it was selected in a course or otherwise made available to students in the School District but was not subject to public notice, review, comment, and hearing procedures under F.S. 1006.283(2)(b)8., 9., and 11.;

     
 

B.

Any material used in a classroom, made available in a school library, or included on a reading list containing content that is pornographic, is not suited to students' needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented, or is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used.

The following procedures shall be followed when an object to specific instructional materials is made by a petitioner:

 

A.

The petitioner shall first discuss his/her concerns about instructional materials with the principal/designee of the school;

     
 

B.

If the discussions with the principal/designee do not resolve the petitioner's concerns, any objections shall be presented in writing on the District "Parent Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" form available in each school office and on the District website. A petitioner who does not complete and return the form shall receive no consideration;

     
 

C.

The principal/designee shall make a reasonable effort to resolve the complaint about the instructional materials used at the school. Where educationally appropriate, alternative materials may be assigned in the discretion of the principal;

     
 

D.

If the complainant’s concerns are not resolved at the school level, a District level fact-finding committee ("committee") shall be appointed by the Superintendent to review the appeal from the principal’s decision. This committee’s proceedings shall not be subject to F.S. 286.011 and shall not be open to the public. The Superintendent shall designate a staff member as responsible for the organization of this committee. The committee’s recommendations shall be submitted to the Superintendent within twenty (20) District working days. No committee member shall be selected from the school where the materials challenge originated.

     
   

The following shall serve as the committee for elementary school materials:

     
 

1.

Elementary media specialist;

     
 

2.

Elementary principal;

     
 

3.

A curriculum supervisor;

     
 

4.

Three (3) instructional staff members at the elementary level; and,

     
 

5.

Two (2) parents of elementary age students;

     
   

The following shall serve as the committee for secondary school materials:

     
 

1.

Secondary media specialist;

     
 

2.

Secondary principal;

     
 

3.

A curriculum supervisor;

     
 

4.

Three (3) instructional staff members at the secondary level; and,

     
 

5.

Two (2) parents of secondary age students;

     
 

E.

The committee’s review shall be treated objectively, unemotionally, in a business-like manner and shall be conducted with the best interests of the student, the school, and the community. The committee results shall be submitted to the Superintendent using the committee checklist form;

     
   

The complainant shall be informed, in writing by the Superintendent of the Superintendent’s final determination, within fifteen (15) working days after the committee’s recommendation is received by the Superintendent.

     
 

F.

The complainant may request an appeal before the Board by filing a written request with the Superintendent within fifteen (15) days of the Superintendent’s determination. The Board shall review the appeal within thirty (30) days. In its review of the appeal, the Board shall consider the recommendations from the committee and the Superintendent’s determination and shall render the final decision on the complainant’s appeal within thirty (30) days of the appeal. The Board’s decision on such an appeal is final and is not subject to further petition or review. If the Board finds that the appeal is warranted and upheld, the School District shall discontinue the use of the material for any grade level or age group for which such use in inappropriate or unsuitable.

Free School-Related Instructional Materials

Free instructional materials may be accepted for classroom and school purposes under conditions that meet all the following criteria:

 

A.

The materials should be strongly connected to the curriculum and not promote the interests of an outside entity;

     
 

B.

The advertising feature of the materials should be minimized;

     
 

C.

Educational films should contain a minimum amount of commercial advertising.

Equipment or Instructional Materials Vendors

The principal/designee may permit vendors to demonstrate and show only that equipment and instructional materials which can be used to improve the instructional program and which are under consideration for purchase by the school.

F.S. 119.071
F.S. 1006.28 through 1006.42
F.A.C. 6A-6.03028
34 C.F.R. Part 300

Revised 1/12/16
Revised 9/7/17
Revised 1/9/18
Revised 3/13/18

© Neola 2017