1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Simmons, Dearing, Furniss, Carlton
Senate Bill 2669
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR SABBATICAL PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO CERTIFIED TEACHERS EMPLOYED IN MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO BECOME LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT ADMINISTRATORS; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO ESTABLISH GUIDELINES FOR THE PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE THAT THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL PAY THE COST OF THE PARTICIPATING TEACHER'S SALARY WHILE ON SUCH SABBATICAL NOT TO EXCEED 15 MONTHS; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN CONDITIONS FOR OPERATION OF THE ADMINISTRATOR SABBATICAL PROGRAM AND REQUIRE PARTICIPANTS TO SERVE AS ADMINISTRATORS IN THE SPONSORING SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR NOT LESS THAN 5 YEARS UPON COMPLETION OF ADMINISTRATOR CERTIFICATION; TO AMEND SECTION 25-11-109, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. There is hereby established the Mississippi School Administrator Sabbatical Program which shall be available to certified teachers employed in Mississippi school districts for not less than three (3) years, for the purpose of allowing such teachers to become local school district administrators under the conditions set forth in this section. The State Board of Education, in coordination with the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, shall develop guidelines for the program. Application shall be made to the State Department of Education for the Mississippi School Administrator Sabbatical Program by qualified teachers meeting the criteria for a department-approved administration program and who have been recommended by the local school board. Admission into the program shall authorize the applicant to take university coursework and training leading to an administrator's certificate beginning in June and extending for a 15-month period. The salaries of the teachers approved for participation in the administrator sabbatical program shall be paid by the employing school district from nonminimum program funds. Such teachers participating in the program on a full time basis shall continue to receive teaching experience and shall receive the salary prescribed in Section 37-19-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, including the annual experience increments. Such participants shall be fully eligible to continue participation in the Public Employees Retirement System and the Public School Employees Health Insurance Plan during the time they are in the program on a full-time basis. As a condition for participation in the School Administrator Sabbatical Program, such teachers shall agree to employment as administrators in the sponsoring school district for not less than five (5) years following completion of administrator certification requirements. Persons failing to comply with this employment commitment in any required school year shall immediately be in breach of contract and become liable to the local school board for the amount of the salary received while on sabbatical, with interest accruing at the current Stafford Loan rate at the time the breach occurs, except in the case of a deferral of debt for cause by the board, after which period of deferral, administrative duties required hereunder will be resumed. If the claim for re-payment of such salary is placed in the hands of an attorney for collection after default, then the obligor shall be liable for an additional amount equal to a reasonable attorney's fee. This section shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 2000.
SECTION 2. Section 25-11-109, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-11-109. (1) Under such rules and regulations as the board of trustees shall adopt, each person who becomes a member of this retirement system, as provided in Section 25-11-105, on or prior to July 1, 1953, or who becomes a member and contributes to the system for a minimum period of four (4) years, shall receive credit for all state service rendered before February 1, 1953. To receive such credit, such member shall file a detailed statement of all services as an employee rendered by him in the state service before February 1, 1953. For any member who joined the system after July 1, 1953, any creditable service for which the member is not required to make contributions shall not be credited to the member until the member has contributed to the system for a minimum period of at least four (4) years.
(2) In the computation of membership service or prior service under the provisions of this article, the total months of accumulative service during any fiscal year shall be calculated in accordance with the schedule as follows: ten (10) or more months of creditable service during any fiscal year shall constitute a year of creditable service; seven (7) months to nine (9) months inclusive, three-quarters (3/4) of a year of creditable service; four (4) months to six (6) months inclusive, one-half (1/2) year of creditable service; one (1) month to three (3) months inclusive, one-quarter (1/4) of a year of creditable service. In no case shall credit be allowed for any period of absence without compensation except for disability while in receipt of a disability retirement allowance, nor shall less than fifteen (15) days of service in any month, or service less than the equivalent of one-half (1/2) of the normal working load for the position and less than one-half (1/2) of the normal compensation for the position in any month, constitute a month of creditable service, nor shall more than one (1) year of service be creditable for all services rendered in any one (1) fiscal year; provided that for a school employee, substantial completion of the legal school term when and where the service was rendered shall constitute a year of service credit for both prior service and membership service. Any state or local elected official shall be deemed a full-time employee for the purpose of creditable service for prior service or membership service. However, an appointed or elected official compensated on a per diem basis only shall not be allowed creditable service for terms of office.
In the computation of any retirement allowance or any annuity or benefits provided in this article, any fractional period of service of less than one (1) year shall be taken into account and a proportionate amount of such retirement allowance, annuity or benefit shall be granted for any such fractional period of service.
In the computation of unused leave for creditable service authorized in Section 25-11-103, the following shall govern: twenty-one (21) days of unused leave shall constitute one (1) month of creditable service and in no case shall credit be allowed for any period of unused leave of less than fifteen (15) days. The number of months of unused leave shall determine the number of quarters or years of creditable service in accordance with the above schedule for membership and prior service. In order for the member to receive creditable service for the number of days of unused leave, the system must receive certification from the governing authority.
For the purpose of this subsection, for members of the system who are elected officers and who retire on or after July 1, 1987, the following shall govern:
(a) For service prior to July 1, 1984, the members shall receive credit for leave (combined personal and major medical) for service as an elected official prior to that date at the rate of thirty (30) days per year.
(b) For service on and after July 1, 1984, the member shall receive credit for personal and major medical leave beginning July 1, 1984, at the rates authorized in Sections 25-3-93 and 25-3-95, computed as a full-time employee.
(3) Subject to the above restrictions and to such other rules and regulations as the board may adopt, the board shall verify, as soon as practicable after the filing of such statements of service, the services therein claimed.
(4) Upon verification of the statement of prior service, the board shall issue a prior service certificate certifying to each member the length of prior service for which credit shall have been allowed on the basis of his statement of service. So long as membership continues, a prior service certificate shall be final and conclusive for retirement purposes as to such service, provided that any member may within five (5) years from the date of issuance or modification of such certificate request the board of trustees to modify or correct his prior service certificate. Any modification or correction authorized shall only apply prospectively.
When membership ceases, such prior service certificates shall become void. Should the employee again become a member, he shall enter the system as an employee not entitled to prior service credit except as provided in Sections 25-11-105(I), 25-11-113 and 25-11-117.
(5) Creditable service at retirement, on which the retirement allowance of a member shall be based, shall consist of the membership service rendered by him since he last became a member, and also, if he has a prior service certificate which is in full force and effect, the amount of the service certified on his prior service certificate.
(6) Anything in this article to the contrary notwithstanding, any member who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, or who served in maritime service during periods of hostility in World War II, shall be entitled to creditable service for his service on active duty in the armed forces or in such maritime service, provided he entered state service after his discharge from the armed forces or entered state service after he completed such maritime service. The maximum period for such creditable service for all military service shall not exceed four (4) years unless positive proof can be furnished by such person that he was retained in the armed forces during World War II or in maritime service during World War II by causes beyond his control and without opportunity of discharge. The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of military service or maritime service records showing dates of entrance into active duty service and the date of discharge. From and after July 1, 1993, no creditable service shall be granted for any military service or maritime service to a member who qualifies for a retirement allowance in another public retirement system administered by the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System based in whole or in part on such military or maritime service. In no case shall the member receive creditable service if the member received a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States.
(7) Any actively contributing member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who has at least four (4) years of membership service credit shall be entitled to receive a maximum of five (5) years creditable service for service rendered in another state as a public employee of such other state, or a political subdivision, public education system or other governmental instrumentality thereof, or service rendered as a teacher in American overseas dependent schools conducted by the Armed Forces of the United States for children of citizens of the United States residing in areas outside the continental United States, provided that:
(a) The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of such services from the state, public education system, political subdivision or retirement system of the state where the services were performed or the governing entity of the American overseas dependent school where the services were performed; and
(b) The member is not receiving or will not be entitled to receive from the public retirement system of the other state or from any other retirement plan, including optional retirement plans, sponsored by the employer, a retirement allowance including such services; and
(c) The member shall pay to the retirement system on the date he or she is eligible for credit for such out-of-state service or at any time thereafter prior to date of retirement the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of out-of-state creditable service. The member may begin to purchase such service credit at such time as the total eligible additional credit, when added to the member's creditable service, will entitle the member to receive a retirement allowance within five (5) years. The provisions of this subsection are subject to the limitations of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations promulgated thereunder.
(8) Any actively contributing member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who has at least four (4) years of membership service credit and who receives, or has received, professional leave without compensation for professional purposes directly related to the employment in state service shall receive creditable service for the period of professional leave without compensation provided:
(a) The professional leave is performed with a public institution or public agency of this state, or another state or federal agency;
(b) The employer approves the professional leave showing the reason for granting the leave and makes a determination that the professional leave will benefit the employee and employer;
(c) Such professional leave shall not exceed two (2) years during any ten-year period of state service;
(d) The employee shall serve the employer on a full-time basis for a period of time equivalent to the professional leave period granted immediately following the termination of said leave period;
(e) The actively contributing member shall pay to the retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of professional leave. The member may begin to purchase such service credit at such time as the total eligible additional credit, when added to the member's creditable service, will entitle the member to receive a retirement allowance within five (5) years. The provisions of this subsection are subject to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code limitations;
(f) Such other rules and regulations consistent herewith as the board may adopt and in case of question, the board shall have final power to decide the questions.
Any actively contributing member participating in the School Administrator Sabbatical Program established in Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 2669, 1997 Regular Session, shall qualify for continued participation under this subsection (8).
(9) Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who has at least four (4) years of credited membership service shall be entitled to receive a maximum of ten (10) years creditable service for:
(a) Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, which does not participate in the Public Employees' Retirement System; or
(b) Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, which participates in the Public Employees' Retirement System but did not elect retroactive coverage; or
(c) Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, for which coverage of the employee's position was or is excluded; provided that the member pays into the retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year, or portion thereof, of such service. Payment for such service may be made in increments of one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service. After a member has made full payment to the retirement system for all or any part of such service, the member shall receive creditable service for the period of such service for which full payment has been made to the retirement system.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.