1998 Regular Session
By: Representatives Davis, Green (34th), Henderson (26th), Jennings, King, Moore, Vince
House Bill 893
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-59, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS' AUTHORITY TO DISMISS OR SUSPEND LICENSED EMPLOYEES WHO ARE CONVICTED OF A FELONY; TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE SCHOOL BOARDS TO REFUSE EMPLOYMENT TO APPLICANTS WHO HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-9-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-59. For incompetence, neglect of duty, immoral conduct, intemperance, brutal treatment of a pupil, conviction of or entry of a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere to a felony, or other good cause, the superintendent of schools may dismiss or suspend any licensed employee in any school district. Before being so dismissed or suspended, any licensed employee shall be notified of the charges against him and he shall be advised that he is entitled to a public hearing upon the charges. In the event the continued presence of the employee on school premises poses a potential threat or danger to the health, safety or general welfare of the students, or, in the discretion of the superintendent, may interfere with or cause a disruption of normal school operations, the superintendent may immediately release the employee of all duties pending a hearing if one is requested by the employee. In the event a licensed employee is arrested, indicted or otherwise charged with a felony by a recognized law enforcement official, the continued presence of the licensed employee on school premises shall be deemed to constitute a disruption of normal school operations. The school board, upon a request for a hearing by the person so suspended or removed shall set a date, time and place for such hearing which shall be not sooner than five (5) days nor later than thirty (30) days from the date of the request. The procedure for such hearing shall be as prescribed for hearings before the board or hearing officer in Section 37-9-111. From the decision made at the hearing, any licensed employee shall be allowed an appeal to the chancery court in the same manner as appeals are authorized in Section 37-9-113. Any party aggrieved by action of the chancery court may appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court as provided by law. In the event that a licensed employee is immediately relieved of duties pending a hearing, as provided in this section, the employee shall be entitled to compensation for a period up to and including the date that the initial hearing is set by the school board, in the event that there is a request for such a hearing by the employee. In the event that an employee does not request a hearing within five (5) calendar days of the date of the notice of discharge or suspension, it shall constitute a waiver of all rights by the employee, and such discharge or suspension shall be effective on the date set out in the notice to the employee.
The school board of every school district in this state is * * * prohibited from denying employment or reemployment to any person as a superintendent, principal or licensed employee, as defined in Section 37-19-1, or as a non-instructional personnel, as defined in Section 37-9-1, for the single reason that any eligible child of such person does not attend the school system in which such superintendent, principal, licensed employee or non-instructional personnel is employed.
SECTION 2. Section 37-9-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-17. On or before April 1 of each year, the principal of each school * * * shall recommend to the superintendent of the school district * * * the licensed employees or noninstructional employees to be employed for the school involved except those licensed employees or noninstructional employees who have been previously employed and who have a contract valid for the ensuing scholastic year. If such recommendations meet with the approval of the superintendent * * * , the superintendent * * * shall recommend the employment of such licensed employees or noninstructional employees to the school board, and, unless good reason to the contrary exists, the board shall elect the licensed employees or noninstructional employees so recommended. The school board, in its discretion, may decline to employ any person as a licensed employee or noninstructional employee if the board has knowledge that the person has been convicted of or entered a guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere to a felony. If, for any reason, the school board shall decline to elect any licensed employee or noninstructional employee so recommended, additional recommendations for the places to be filled shall be made by the principal * * * to the superintendent and then by the superintendent to the school board as provided above. The school board of any school district shall be authorized to designate a personnel supervisor or another principal employed by the school district to recommend * * * to the superintendent licensed employees; however, this authorization shall be restricted to no more than two (2) positions for each employment period for each school in the school district. The school board of any school district shall be authorized to designate a personnel supervisor or another principal employed by the school district to accept the recommendations of principals or their designees for licensed employees and to transmit approved recommendations to the board; however, this authorization shall be restricted to no more than two (2) positions for each employment period for each school in the school district.
When the licensed employees in a school district have been elected as provided in the preceding paragraph, the superintendent of the district shall enter into a contract with such licensed employees in the manner provided in this chapter.
If, at the commencement of the scholastic year, any licensed employee shall present to the superintendent a license of a higher grade than that specified in such individual's contract, such individual may be paid, if funds are available from minimum education program funds of the district, or from district funds, * * * from such funds the amount to which such higher grade license would have entitled the individual, had the license been held at the time the contract was executed.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.