1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Ferris
Senate Bill 2070
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-9-18 AND 37-9-105, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PRESCRIBE THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF SCHOOL DISTRICT FINANCIAL ADVISORS APPOINTED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-9-18, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-18. (1) The superintendent of schools shall furnish to the school board a financial statement of receipts and disbursements, by funds, on or before the last working day of the following month covering the prior month. The school board shall be authorized to investigate and audit all financial records of the superintendent of schools at any and all times.
(2) The State Auditor, in his discretion, shall audit the financial records of school districts. The State Auditor shall give reasonable notice to school districts regarding the times during which he will perform such audits. In any fiscal year in which the State Auditor is not scheduled to perform an audit, the school board shall cause all the financial records of the superintendent of schools to be audited by a certified public accountant licensed to practice accounting in the State of Mississippi. If the school board so elects by resolution adopted each year, the audit shall be performed by the State Auditor. Contracts for the audit of public school districts shall be let by the school board in the manner prescribed by the State Auditor. The audit shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and generally accepted accounting principles, and the report presented thereon shall be in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. If the auditor's opinion on the general purpose financial statements is a disclaimer, as that term is defined by generally accepted auditing standards, or if the State Auditor determines the existence of serious financial conditions in the district, the State Auditor shall immediately notify the State Board of Education. Upon receiving the notice, the State Superintendent of Education shall direct the school district to immediately cease all expenditures until a financial advisor is appointed by the state superintendent. The financial advisor shall be an agent of the State Board of Education and shall be a certified public accountant or a qualified business officer. The financial advisor shall, with the approval of the State Board of Education:
(a) Approve or disapprove all expenditures and all financial obligations of the district, including, but not limited to, the employment, termination, nonrenewal and reassignment of all certified and noncertified personnel, contractual agreements and purchase orders, and approving or disapproving all claim dockets and the issuance of checks; in approving or disapproving employment contracts of superintendents, assistant superintendents or principals, the interim conservator shall not be required to comply with the time limitations prescribed in Sections 37-9-15 and 37-9-105;
(b) Reduce local supplements paid to school district employees, including, but not limited to, instructional personnel, assistant reading instructors and extracurricular activities personnel, but only to an extent which will result in the salaries being comparable to districts similarly situated, as determined by the State Board of Education;
(c) Ensure compliance with any statutes and State Board of Education rules or regulations concerning expenditures by school districts;
(d) Work with the school district's business office to correct all inappropriate accounting procedures and/or uses of school district funds; and
(e) Report frequently to the State Board of Education on the corrective actions being taken and the progress being made in the school district. The financial adviser shall serve until such time as corrective action and progress is being made in such school district as determined by the State Board of Education with the concurrence of the State Auditor. The school district shall be responsible for all expenses associated with the use of the financial advisor. If the audit report reflects a failure by the school district to meet accreditation standards, the State Board of Education shall proceed under Section 37-17-6.
(3) In the event the State Auditor does not perform the audit examination, then the audit report of the school district shall be reviewed by the State Auditor for compliance with applicable state laws before final payment is made on the audit by the school board. All financial records, books, vouchers, cancelled checks and other financial records required by law to be kept and maintained in the case of municipalities shall be faithfully kept and maintained in the office of the superintendent of schools under the same provisions and penalties provided by law in the case of municipal officials.
SECTION 2. Section 37-9-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-105. In the event that a determination is made by a school district not to offer an employee a renewal contract for a successive year, written notice of nonrenewal shall be given within seven (7) days of the date when the recommendation to reemploy would have been made under the provisions of Sections 37-9-15 and 37-9-17, and amendments thereto, but in any event no later than the following:
(a) If the employee is a superintendent, the school district shall give notice of nonreemployment on or before February 1;
(b) If the employee is a principal, the school district shall give notice of nonreemployment on or before March 1;
(c) If the employee is a teacher or other professional educator, the school district shall give notice of nonreemployment on or before April 8.
An interim conservator appointed pursuant to the provisions of Section 37-17-6(14)(a) or a school district financial advisor appointed pursuant to the provisions of Section 37-9-18 shall not be required to comply with the time limitations prescribed in this section for recommending the reemployment of superintendents, assistant superintendents or principals.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.