2002 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representative Formby, Cameron, Davis, Jennings, Lott, Martinson, Robertson, Wells-Smith
AN ACT TO CREATE A TASK FORCE TO CONDUCT A BEST FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES REVIEW OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO IMPROVE MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL DISTRICT MANAGEMENT AND USE OF RESOURCES AND TO IDENTIFY COST SAVINGS; TO DIRECT CERTAIN STATE AGENCIES AND LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO COOPERATE AND ASSIST WITH THIS REVIEW; TO PROVIDE FOR A REPORT TO THE 2003 REGULAR SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is created a Task Force to Conduct a Best Financial Management Practices Review of the State Department of Education in order to improve the management and use of resources by Mississippi school districts and to identify cost savings. The membership of the task force includes the following nine (9) members: (a) the State Superintendent of Public Education, who serves as chairman of the task force; (b) the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and one (1) member of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; (c) the Chairman of the House of Representatives Education Committee, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and one (1) member of the House appointed by the Speaker of the House; (d) one (1) local school superintendent appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; and (e) one (1) representative of the business community appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Task Force to Conduct a Best Financial Management Practices Review of the State Department of Education shall study and submit to the Governor and the Legislature, for review and adoption, proposed revisions to the best financial management practices of the public school system which, at a minimum, shall instill public confidence by: addressing the State Department of Education's and the local school districts' use of resources; identifying ways that the department and the local districts can save funds; and improving the department's and the local school districts' performance accountability systems. To achieve these objectives, best practices must be developed for, but need not be limited to, the following areas:
(a) Management structures, including the size of the department;
(b) Performance accountability;
(c) Efficient delivery of educational services, including instructional materials;
(d) Teacher recruitment, the Mississippi Teacher Center, the Critical Teacher Shortage Act, and employment of recruited teachers by local school districts;
(e) Administrative and instructional technology;
(f) Personnel systems and benefits management;
(g) Facilities construction and maintenance;
(h) Vocational-technical programs;
(i) Teacher certification;
(j) The Mississippi Adequate Education funding formula;
(k) The number and size of school districts and schools;
(l) Cost control systems and financial auditing of the department and school districts.
In areas for which the department or local school districts have not adopted the best practices, the task force may develop revised practices, with input from a broad range of stakeholders.
(2) The task force shall make a report of its findings and recommendations, including necessary legislation, to the Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor for implementation in the 2003 Regular Session. The task force may recommend continuation of its review until the 2004 Regular Session if it is unable to complete its responsibilities before the beginning of the 2003 Regular Session.
(3) The task force shall meet on the call of the chairman and shall organize by selecting from its membership a vice chairman, who also shall serve as secretary and shall be responsible for keeping all records of the task force. A majority of the members of the committee constitutes a quorum. All members must be notified in writing of all meetings, and the notices must be mailed at least five (5) days before the date on which a meeting is to be held.
(4) Legislative members of the task force shall be paid from the contingent expense funds of their respective houses in the same amounts as provided for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session. Nonlegislative members of the task force who are not state employees or local school district employees shall be reimbursed for actual necessary expenses in attending called meetings of the task force, to be paid from any funds made available for such purpose by the Legislature.
(5) All agencies and divisions of agencies affected by this study and review must cooperate with the Task Force to Conduct a Best Financial Management Practices Review of the State Department of Education, specifically the State Department of Education, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, in formulating and preparing its recommendations.
(6) The task force may select a consultant or consultants to conduct the study mandated under this section, subject to specific appropriation therefor by the Legislature, and following the applicable regulations of the Personal Service Contract Review Board.
(7) The task force may utilize staff employed by the agencies and school districts affected by this study and any other assistance made available to the task force.
(8) Upon presentation of its final report, the task force shall be dissolved.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.