2005 Regular Session
By: Representative Brown
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-59, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE SCHOOL BOARD TO SUSPEND OR DISMISS AN APPOINTED SUPERINTENDENT BASED ON THE TERMS OF THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT ENTERED INTO BY THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE BOARD WITHOUT A HEARING; TO AUTHORIZE A SUPERINTENDENT TO FILE SUIT AGAINST THE BOARD IF HE OR SHE BELIEVES THAT THE BOARD ILLEGALLY SUSPENDED, DISMISSED OR TERMINATED THE CONTRACT; TO AMEND 37-9-103, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE SUPERINTENDENTS FROM THE DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE AS USED IN THE EDUCATION EMPLOYMENT PROCEDURES LAW; TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE A SCHOOL BOARD WHO MAKES A PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION NOT TO OFFER THE SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT A RENEWAL CONTRACT FOR A SUCCESSIVE YEAR, TO GIVE WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE PRELIMINARY NONREEMPLOYMENT DETERMINATION TO THE SUPERINTENDENT BEFORE FEBRUARY 1; TO REPEAL SECTION 37-9-104, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH REQUIRES SCHOOL BOARDS TO GIVE WRITTEN NOTICE OF DETERMINATION NOT TO OFFER SUPERINTENDENTS A RENEWAL CONTRACT; 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. (1) For incompetence, neglect of duty, immoral conduct, intemperance, brutal treatment of a pupil 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 said charges. In the event the continued presence of said 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 said 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 said 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, said 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 said 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 hereby 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 noninstructional 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 noninstructional personnel is employed.
This subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to the suspension or dismissal of appointed superintendents.
(2) The school board may suspend or dismiss an appointed superintendent based on the terms of the employment contract entered into by the superintendent and the board. The school board shall explain to the superintendent why the contract is being terminated and give the superintendent an opportunity to respond in writing to the reasons given by the board for the suspension or dismissal. If the appointed superintendent believes that the school board illegally suspended, dismissed or terminated the contract, that superintendent may file suit against the school board.
SECTION 2. Section 37-9-103, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-103. As used in Sections 37-9-101 through 37-9-113, the word "employee" shall include:
(a) Any teacher, principal * * * or other professional personnel except appointed superintendents employed by the local school district for a continuous period of two (2) years with that district and required to have a valid license issued by the State Department of Education as a prerequisite of employment; or
(b) Any teacher, principal * * * or other professional personnel except appointed superintendents who has completed a continuous period of two (2) years of employment in a Mississippi public school district and one (1) full year of employment with the school district of current employment, and who is required to have a valid license issued by the State Department of Education as a prerequisite of employment.
For purposes of Sections 37-9-101 through 37-9-113, the term "days" means calendar days.
SECTION 3. Section 37-9-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-25. The school board shall have the power and authority, in its discretion, to employ the superintendent, unless such superintendent is elected, for not exceeding four (4) scholastic years. However, if the school board makes a preliminary determination not to offer the school district superintendent a renewal contract for a successive year, written notice of the preliminary nonreemployment determination must be given to the superintendent before February 1. The school board shall also have the power and authority, in its discretion, to employ principals or licensed employees for not exceeding three (3) scholastic years. In such case, contracts shall be entered into with such superintendents, principals and licensed employees for the number of years for which they have been employed. All such contracts with licensed employees shall for the years after the first year thereof be subject to the contingency that the licensed employee may be released if, during the life of the contract, the average daily attendance should decrease from that existing during the previous year and thus necessitate a reduction in the number of licensed employees during any year after the first year of the contract. However, in all such cases the licensed employee must be released before July 1 or at least thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the school term, whichever date should occur earlier. The salary to be paid for the years after the first year of such contract shall be subject to revision, either upward or downward, in the event of an increase or decrease in the funds available for the payment thereof, but, unless such salary is revised prior to the beginning of a school year, it shall remain for such school year at the amount fixed in such contract. However, where school district funds, other than minimum education program funds, are available during the school year in excess of the amount anticipated at the beginning of the school year the salary to be paid for such year may be increased to the extent that such additional funds are available and nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit same.
SECTION 4. Section 37-9-104, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides for school boards to give written notice of determination not to offer superintendents a renewal contract, is repealed. SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.