1998 Regular Session
To: Education; Judiciary
By: Senator(s) Little
Senate Bill 2034
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER APPLICANTS AND TO PROHIBIT PERSONS DETERMINED THROUGH A BACKGROUND CHECK TO BE GUILTY OF A FELONY FROM TEACHING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES REGARDING CERTAIN EMPLOYMENT DECISIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. 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 or such other person designated or authorized by the school board shall recommend to the superintendent of the school district or such other person designated or authorized by the school board, 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. The superintendent of the school district shall have the authority to conduct a criminal history background investigation of each person applying and recommended for a teaching position. If the background investigation discloses a felony conviction or a guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere to a felony, the applicant shall not be eligible to teach and shall not be recommended for employment to the school board. If such recommendations meet with the approval of the superintendent or the board's designee, the superintendent or the board's designee 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. 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 or such other person designated or authorized by the school board, 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 for a principal 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, if funds are available from minimum education program funds of the district, or from district funds, be paid 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 2. No school district or school district employee shall be held liable in any employment discrimination suit in which an allegation of discrimination is made regarding an employment decision authorized under Section 37-9-17.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.