2002 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Harden
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-7-307, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PAY SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS TWICE PER MONTH; TO AMEND SECTION 37-3-2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS WITH CERTAIN EXPERIENCE TO BE COMPENSATED WHILE COMPLETING STUDENT TEACHING REQUIREMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-7-307, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-7-307. (1) For purposes of this section, the term "licensed employee" means any employee of a public school district required to hold a valid license by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development.
(2) The school board of a school district shall establish by rules and regulations a policy of sick leave with pay for licensed employees employed in the school district, and such policy shall include the following minimum provisions for sick and emergency leave with pay:
(a) Each licensed employee, at the beginning of each school year, shall be credited with a minimum sick leave allowance, with pay, of seven (7) days for absences caused by illness or physical disability of the employee during that school year.
(b) Any unused portion of the total sick leave allowance shall be carried over to the next school year and credited to such licensed employee if the licensed employee remains employed in the same school district. In the event any public school licensed employee transfers from one public school district in Mississippi to another, any unused portion of the total sick leave allowance credited to such licensed employee shall be credited to such licensed employee in the computation of unused leave for retirement purposes under Section 25-11-109. Accumulation of sick leave allowed under this section shall be unlimited.
(c) No deduction from the pay of such licensed employee may be made because of absence of such licensed employee caused by illness or physical disability of the licensed employee until after all sick leave allowance credited to such licensed employee has been used.
(d) For the first ten (10) days of absence of a licensed employee because of illness or physical disability, in any school year, in excess of the sick leave allowance credited to such licensed employee, there may be deducted from the pay of such licensed employee the established substitute amount of licensed employee compensation paid in that local school district, necessitated because of the absence of the licensed employee as a result of illness or physical disability. Thereafter, the regular pay of such absent licensed employee may be suspended and withheld in its entirety for any period of absence because of illness or physical disability during that school year.
(3) Beginning with the school year 1983-1984, each licensed employee at the beginning of each school year shall be credited with a minimum personal leave allowance, with pay, of two (2) days for absences caused by personal reasons during that school year. Such personal leave shall not be taken on the first day of the school term, the last day of the school term, on a day previous to a holiday or a day after a holiday. Personal leave may be used for professional purposes, including absences caused by attendance of such licensed employee at a seminar, class, training program, professional association or other functions designed for educators. No deduction from the pay of such licensed employee may be made because of absence of such licensed employee caused by personal reasons until after all personal leave allowance credited to such licensed employee has been used. However, the superintendent of a school district, in his discretion, may allow a licensed employee personal leave in addition to any minimum personal leave allowance, under the condition that there shall be deducted from the salary of such licensed employee the actual amount of any compensation paid to any person as a substitute, necessitated because of the absence of the licensed employee.
(4) Beginning with the school year 1992-1993, each licensed employee shall be credited with a professional leave allowance, with pay, for each day of absence caused by reason of such employee's statutorily required membership and attendance at a regular or special meeting held within the State of Mississippi of the State Board of Education, the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development, the Commission on School Accreditation, the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television and the meetings of the state textbook rating committees.
(5) Upon retirement from employment, each licensed and nonlicensed employee shall be paid for not more than thirty (30) days of unused accumulated leave earned while employed by the school district in which the employee is last employed. Such payment for licensed employees shall be made by the school district at a rate equal to the amount paid to substitute teachers and for nonlicensed employees, the payment shall be made by the school district at a rate equal to the federal minimum wage. The payment shall be treated in the same manner for retirement purposes as a lump sum payment for personal leave as provided in Section 25-11-103(e). Any remaining lawfully credited unused leave, for which payment has not been made, shall be certified to the Public Employees' Retirement System in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as otherwise provided by law for unused leave.
(6) The school board may adopt rules and regulations which will reasonably aid to implement the policy of sick and personal leave, including, but not limited to, rules and regulations having the following general effect:
(a) Requiring the absent licensed employee to furnish the certificate of a physician or dentist or other medical practitioner as to the illness of the absent licensed employee, where the absence is for four (4) or more consecutive school days, or for two (2) consecutive school days immediately preceding or following a nonschool day;
(b) Providing penalties, by way of full deduction from salary, or entry on the work record of the licensed employee, or other appropriate penalties, for any materially false statement by the licensed employee as to the cause of absence;
(c) Forfeiture of accumulated or future sick leave, if the absence of the licensed employee is caused by optional dental or medical treatment or surgery which could, without medical risk, have been provided, furnished or performed at a time when school was not in session;
(d) Enlarging, increasing or providing greater sick or personal leave allowances than the minimum standards established by this section in the discretion of the school board of each school district.
(7) School boards may include in their budgets provisions for the payment of substitute teachers, necessitated because of the absence of regular licensed employees. All such substitute teachers shall be paid wholly from district funds other than minimum education program funds, except as otherwise provided for long-term substitute teachers in Section 37-19-20. Local school boards may elect to pay substitute teachers twice per month. Such school boards, in their discretion, also may pay, from district funds other than minimum education program funds, the whole or any part of the salaries of licensed employees granted leaves for the purpose of special studies or training.
(8) The school board may further adopt rules and regulations which will reasonably implement such leave policies for all other nonlicensed school employees as the board deems appropriate.
(9) (a) For the purposes of this subsection, the following words and phrases shall have the meaning ascribed in this paragraph unless the context requires otherwise:
(i) "Catastrophic injury or illness" means a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of an employee or a member of an employee's immediate family, including pregnancy, that requires the services of a licensed physician for an extended period of time and that forces the employee to exhaust all leave time accumulated by that employee, thereby resulting in the loss of compensation from the school district for the employee.
(ii) "Immediate family" means spouse, parent, stepparent, sibling, child or stepchild.
(b) Any school district employee may donate a portion of his or her unused accumulated personal leave or sick leave to another employee of the same or another school district who is suffering from a catastrophic injury or illness or who has a member of his or her immediate family suffering from a catastrophic injury or illness, in accordance with the following:
(i) The employee donating the leave (the "donor employee") shall designate the employee who is to receive the leave (the "recipient employee") and the amount of unused accumulated personal leave and sick leave that is to be donated, and shall notify the school district superintendent or his designee of his or her designation.
(ii) The maximum amount of unused accumulated personal leave that an employee may donate to any other employee may not exceed a number of days that would leave the donor employee with fewer than seven (7) days of personal leave remaining, and the maximum amount of unused accumulated sick leave that an employee may donate to any other employee may not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the unused accumulated sick leave of the donor employee.
(iii) An employee must have exhausted all of his or her accumulated personal leave and sick leave before he or she will be eligible to receive any leave donated by another employee. Eligibility for donated leave shall be based upon review and approval by the donor employee's supervisor.
(iv) Before an employee may receive donated leave, he or she must provide the school district superintendent or his designee with a physician's statement that states the beginning date of the catastrophic injury or illness, a description of the injury or illness, and a prognosis for recovery and the anticipated date that the recipient employee will be able to return to work.
(v) If the total amount of leave that is donated to any employee is not used by the recipient employee, the whole days of donated leave shall be returned to the donor employees on a pro rata basis, based on the ratio of the number of days of leave donated by each donor employee to the total number of days of leave donated by all donor employees.
(vi) Donated leave shall not be used in lieu of disability retirement.
SECTION 2. Section 37-3-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-3-2. (1) There is established within the State Department of Education the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development. It shall be the purpose and duty of the commission to make recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding standards for the certification and licensure and continuing professional development of those who teach or perform tasks of an educational nature in the public schools of Mississippi.
(2) The commission shall be composed of fifteen (15) qualified members. The membership of the commission shall be composed of the following members to be appointed, three (3) from each congressional district: four (4) classroom teachers; three (3) school administrators; one (1) representative of schools of education of institutions of higher learning located within the state to be recommended by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning; one (1) representative from the schools of education of independent institutions of higher learning to be recommended by the Board of the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges; one (1) representative from public community and junior colleges located within the state to be recommended by the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges; one (1) local school board member; and four (4) lay persons. All appointments shall be made by the State Board of Education after consultation with the State Superintendent of Public Education. The first appointments by the State Board of Education shall be made as follows: five (5) members shall be appointed for a term of one (1) year; five (5) members shall be appointed for a term of two (2) years; and five (5) members shall be appointed for a term of three (3) years. Thereafter, all members shall be appointed for a term of four (4) years.
(3) The State Board of Education when making appointments shall designate a chairman. The commission shall meet at least once every two (2) months or more often if needed. Members of the commission shall be compensated at a rate of per diem as authorized by Section 25-3-69 and be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses as authorized by Section 25-3-41.
(4) An appropriate staff member of the State Department of Education shall be designated and assigned by the State Superintendent of Public Education to serve as executive secretary and coordinator for the commission. No less than two (2) other appropriate staff members of the State Department of Education shall be designated and assigned by the State Superintendent of Public Education to serve on the staff of the commission.
(5) It shall be the duty of the commission to:
(a) Set standards and criteria, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, for all educator preparation programs in the state;
(b) Recommend to the State Board of Education each year approval or disapproval of each educator preparation program in the state;
(c) Establish, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, standards for initial teacher certification and licensure in all fields;
(d) Establish, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, standards for the renewal of teacher licenses in all fields;
(e) Review and evaluate objective measures of teacher performance, such as test scores, which may form part of the licensure process, and to make recommendations for their use;
(f) Review all existing requirements for certification and licensure;
(g) Consult with groups whose work may be affected by the commission's decisions;
(h) Prepare reports from time to time on current practices and issues in the general area of teacher education and certification and licensure;
(i) Hold hearings concerning standards for teachers' and administrators' education and certification and licensure with approval of the State Board of Education;
(j) Hire expert consultants with approval of the State Board of Education;
(k) Set up ad hoc committees to advise on specific areas; and
(l) Perform such other functions as may fall within their general charge and which may be delegated to them by the State Board of Education.
(6) (a) Standard License - Approved Program Route. An educator entering the school system of Mississippi for the first time and meeting all requirements as established by the State Board of Education shall be granted a standard five-year license. Persons who possess two (2) years of classroom experience as an assistant teacher or substitute teacher or who have taught for one (1) year in an accredited public or private school shall be allowed to fulfill student teaching requirements under the supervision of a qualified participating teacher approved by an accredited college of education. The local school district in which the assistant teacher or substitute teacher is employed shall compensate such assistant teachers or substitute teachers at the required salary level during the period of time such individual is completing student teaching requirements.
Applicants for a standard license shall submit to the department:
(i) An application on a department form;
(ii) An official transcript of completion of a teacher education program or a bachelor of science degree with child development emphasis from a program accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) approved by the department or a nationally accredited program, subject to the following: Licensure to teach in Mississippi prekindergarten through kindergarten classrooms shall require completion of a teacher education program or a bachelor of science degree with child development emphasis from a program accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Licensure to teach in Mississippi kindergarten, for those applicants who have completed a teacher education program, and in Grade 1 through Grade 4 shall require the completion of an interdisciplinary program of studies. Licenses for Grades 4 through 8 shall require the completion of an interdisciplinary program of studies with two (2) or more areas of concentration. Licensure to teach in Mississippi Grades 7 through 12 shall require a major in an academic field other than education, or a combination of disciplines other than education. Students preparing to teach a subject shall complete a major in the respective subject discipline. All applicants for standard licensure shall demonstrate that such person's college preparation in those fields was in accordance with the standards set forth by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) or, for those applicants who have a bachelor of science degree with child development emphasis, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS);
(iii) A copy of test scores evidencing satisfactory completion of nationally administered examinations of achievement, such as the Educational Testing Service's teacher testing examinations; and
(iv) Any other document required by the State Board of Education.
(b) Standard License - Alternate Teaching Route. Applicants for a Standard License - Alternate Teaching Route shall submit to the department:
(i) An application on a department form;
(ii) An official transcript evidencing a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
(iii) A copy of test scores evidencing satisfactory completion of an examination of achievement specified by the commission and approved by the State Board of Education;
(iv) An official transcript evidencing appropriate credit hours or a copy of test scores evidencing successful completion of tests as required by the State Board of Education; and
(v) Any other document required by the State Board of Education.
A Standard License - Approved Program Route and a Standard License - Alternate Teaching Route shall be issued for a five-year period, and may be renewed. Recognizing teaching as a profession, a hiring preference shall be granted to persons holding a Standard License - Approved Program Route or Standard License - Alternate Teaching Route over persons holding any other license.
(c) Special License - Expert Citizen. In order to allow a school district to offer specialized or technical courses, the State Department of Education, in accordance with rules and regulations established by the State Board of Education, may grant a one-year expert citizen-teacher license to local business or other professional personnel to teach in a public school or nonpublic school accredited or approved by the state. Such person may begin teaching upon his employment by the local school board and licensure by the Mississippi Department of Education. The board shall adopt rules and regulations to administer the expert citizen-teacher license. A special license - expert citizen may be renewed in accordance with the established rules and regulations of the State Department of Education.
(d) Special License - Nonrenewable. The State Board of Education is authorized to establish rules and regulations to allow those educators not meeting requirements in subsection (6)(a), (b) or (c) to be licensed for a period of not more than three (3) years, except by special approval of the State Board of Education.
(e) Nonlicensed Teaching Personnel. A nonlicensed person may teach for a maximum of three (3) periods per teaching day in a public school or a nonpublic school accredited/approved by the state. Such person shall submit to the department a transcript or record of his education and experience which substantiates his preparation for the subject to be taught and shall meet other qualifications specified by the commission and approved by the State Board of Education. In no case shall any local school board hire nonlicensed personnel as authorized under this paragraph in excess of five percent (5%) of the total number of licensed personnel in any single school.
(f) In the event any school district meets Level 4 or 5 accreditation standards, the State Board of Education, in its discretion, may exempt such school district from any restrictions inparagraph (e) relating to the employment of nonlicensed teaching personnel.
(7) Administrator License. The State Board of Education is authorized to establish rules and regulations and to administer the licensure process of the school administrators in the State of Mississippi. There will be four (4) categories of administrator licensure with exceptions only through special approval of the State Board of Education.
(a) Administrator License - Nonpracticing. Those educators holding administrative endorsement but have no administrative experience or not serving in an administrative position on January 15, 1997.
(b) Administrator License - Entry Level. Those educators holding administrative endorsement and having met the department's qualifications to be eligible for employment in a Mississippi school district. Administrator license - entry level shall be issued for a five-year period and shall be nonrenewable.
(c) Standard Administrator License - Career Level. An administrator who has met all the requirements of the department for standard administrator licensure.
(d) Administrator License - Alternate Route. The board may establish an alternate route for licensing administrative personnel. Such alternate route for administrative licensure shall be available for persons holding, but not limited to, a master of business administration degree, a master of public administration degree or a master of public planning and policy degree from an accredited college or university, with five (5) years of administrative or supervisory experience. Successful completion of the requirements of alternate route licensure for administrators shall qualify the person for a standard administrator license.
Beginning with the 1997-1998 school year, individuals seeking school administrator licensure under paragraph (b), (c) or (d) shall successfully complete a training program and an assessment process prescribed by the State Board of Education. Applicants seeking school administrator licensure prior to June 30, 1997, and completing all requirements for provisional or standard administrator certification and who have never practiced, shall be exempt from taking the Mississippi Assessment Battery Phase I. Applicants seeking school administrator licensure during the period beginning July 1, 1997, through June 30, 1998, shall participate in the Mississippi Assessment Battery, and upon request of the applicant, the department shall reimburse the applicant for the cost of the assessment process required. After June 30, 1998, all applicants for school administrator licensure shall meet all requirements prescribed by the department under paragraph (b), (c) or (d), and the cost of the assessment process required shall be paid by the applicant.
(8) Reciprocity. (a) The department shall grant a standard license to any individual who possesses a valid standard license from another state and has a minimum of two (2) years of full-time teaching or administrator experience.
(b) The department shall grant a nonrenewable special license to any individual who possesses a credential which is less than a standard license or certification from another state, or who possesses a standard license from another state but has less than two (2) years of full-time teaching or administration experience. Such special license shall be valid for the current school year plus one (1) additional school year to expire on June 30 of the second year, not to exceed a total period of twenty-four (24) months, during which time the applicant shall be required to complete the requirements for a standard license in Mississippi.
(9) Renewal and Reinstatement of Licenses. The State Board of Education is authorized to establish rules and regulations for the renewal and reinstatement of educator and administrator licenses. Effective May 15, 1997, the valid standard license held by an educator shall be extended five (5) years beyond the expiration date of the license in order to afford the educator adequate time to fulfill new renewal requirements established pursuant to this subsection. An educator completing a master of education, educational specialist or doctor of education degree in May 1997 for the purpose of upgrading the educator's license to a higher class shall be given this extension of five (5) years plus five (5) additional years for completion of a higher degree.
(10) All controversies involving the issuance, revocation, suspension or any change whatsoever in the licensure of an educator required to hold a license shall be initially heard in a hearing de novo, by the commission or by a subcommittee established by the commission and composed of commission members for the purpose of holding hearings. Any complaint seeking the denial of issuance, revocation or suspension of a license shall be by sworn affidavit filed with the Commission of Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development. The decision thereon by the commission or its subcommittee shall be final, unless the aggrieved party shall appeal to the State Board of Education, within ten (10) days, of the decision of the committee or its subcommittee. An appeal to the State Board of Education shall be on the record previously made before the commission or its subcommittee unless otherwise provided by rules and regulations adopted by the board. The State Board of Education in its authority may reverse, or remand with instructions, the decision of the committee or its subcommittee. The decision of the State Board of Education shall be final.
(11) The State Board of Education, acting through the commission, may deny an application for any teacher or administrator license for one or more of the following:
(a) Lack of qualifications which are prescribed by law or regulations adopted by the State Board of Education;
(b) The applicant has a physical, emotional or mental disability that renders the applicant unfit to perform the duties authorized by the license, as certified by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist;
(c) The applicant is actively addicted to or actively dependent on alcohol or other habit-forming drugs or is a habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, or other drugs having similar effect, at the time of application for a license;
(d) Revocation of an applicant's certificate or license by another state;
(e)Fraud or deceit committed by the applicant in securing or attempting to secure such certification and license;
(f) Failing or refusing to furnish reasonable evidence of identification;
(g) The applicant has been convicted, has pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a felony, as defined by federal or state law; or
(h) The applicant has been convicted, has pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a sex offense as defined by federal or state law.
(12) The State Board of Education, acting on the recommendation of the commission, may revoke or suspend any teacher or administrator license for specified periods of time for one or more of the following:
(a) Breach of contract or abandonment of employment may result in the suspension of the license for one (1) school year as provided in Section 37-9-57;
(b) Obtaining a license by fraudulent means shall result in immediate suspension and continued suspension for one (1) year after correction is made;
(c) Suspension or revocation of a certificate or license by another stateshall result in immediate suspension or revocation and shall continue until records in the prior state have been cleared;
(d) The license holder has been convicted, has pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a felony, as defined by federal or state law;
(e) The license holder has been convicted, has pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a sex offense, as defined by federal or state law; or
(f) The license holder knowingly and willfully committing any of the acts affecting validity of mandatory uniform test results as provided in Section 37-16-4(1).
(13) (a) Dismissal or suspension of a licensed employee by a local school board pursuant to Section 37-9-59 may result in the suspension or revocation of a license for a length of time which shall be determined by the commission and based upon the severity of the offense.
(b) Any offense committed or attempted in any other state shall result in the same penalty as if committed or attempted in this state.
(c) A person may voluntarily surrender a license. The surrender of such license may result in the commission recommending any of the above penalties without the necessity of a hearing. However, any such license which has voluntarily been surrendered by a licensed employee may be reinstated by a unanimous vote of all members of the commission.
(14) A person whose license has been suspended on any grounds except criminal grounds may petition for reinstatement of the license after one (1) year from the date of suspension, or after one-half (1/2) of the suspended time has lapsed, whichever is greater. A license suspended on the criminal grounds may be reinstated upon petition to the commission filed after expiration of the sentence and parole or probationary period imposed upon conviction. A revoked license may be reinstated upon satisfactory showing of evidence of rehabilitation. The commission shall require all who petition for reinstatement to furnish evidence satisfactory to the commission of good character, good mental, emotional and physical health and such other evidence as the commission may deem necessary to establish the petitioner's rehabilitation and fitness to perform the duties authorized by the license.
(15) Reporting procedures and hearing procedures for dealing with infractions under this section shall be promulgated by the commission, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education. The revocation or suspension of a license shall be effected at the time indicated on the notice of suspension or revocation. The commission shall immediately notify the superintendent of the school district or school board where the teacher or administrator is employed of any disciplinary action and also notify the teacher or administrator of such revocation or suspension and shall maintain records of action taken. The State Board of Education may reverse or remand with instructions any decision of the commission regarding a petition for reinstatement of a license, and any such decision of the State Board of Education shall be final.
(16) An appeal from the action of the State Board of Education in denying an application, revoking or suspending a license or otherwise disciplining any person under the provisions of this section, shall be filed in the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County on the record made, including a verbatim transcript of the testimony at the hearing. The appeal shall be filed within thirty (30) days after notification of the action of the board is mailed or served and the proceedings in chancery court shall be conducted as other matters coming before the court. The appeal shall be perfected upon filing notice of the appeal and by the prepayment of all costs, including the cost of preparation of the record of the proceedings by the State Board of Education, and the filing of a bond in the sum of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) conditioned that if the action of the board be affirmed by the chancery court, the applicant or license holder shall pay the costs of the appeal and the action of the chancery court.
(17) All such programs, rules, regulations, standards and criteria recommended or authorized by the commission shall become effective upon approval by the State Board of Education as designated by appropriate orders entered upon the minutes thereof. (18) The granting of a license shall not be deemed a property right nor a guarantee of employment in any public school district. A license is a privilegeindicating minimal eligibility for teaching in the public schools of Mississippi. This section shall in no way alter or abridge the authority of local school districts to require greater qualifications or standards of performance as a prerequisite of initial or continued employment in such districts.
(19) In addition to the reasons specified in subsections (12) and (13) of this section, the board shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153. The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be. Actions taken by the board in suspending a license when required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 are not actions from which an appeal may be taken under this section. Any appeal of a license suspension that is required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 shall be taken in accordance with the appeal procedure specified in Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, rather than the procedure specified in this section. If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.