2005 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Browning
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-61, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL TERMS SHALL OPEN ON THE TUESDAY FOLLOWING LABOR DAY; TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-13-63 AND 37-151-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REDUCE THE MINIMUM LENGTH OF THE SCHOOL TERM IN ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-13-61, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-61. The State Board of Education shall have the power and authority to fix the date for the opening of the school term in all schools in the state, and shall promulgate guidelines for an annual school calendar to be observed by all public school districts. Provided, however, that the school term shall open on the first Tuesday following Labor Day.
SECTION 2. Section 37-13-63, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-63. (1) All public schools in the state shall be kept in session for at least one hundred seventy (170) days in each scholastic year.
(2) If the school board of any school district shall determine that it is not economically feasible or practicable to operate any school within the district for the full one hundred seventy (170) days required for a scholastic year as contemplated due to an enemy attack, a man-made, technological or natural disaster in which the Governor has declared a disaster emergency under the laws of this state or the President of the United States has declared an emergency or major disaster to exist in this state, said school board may notify the State Department of Education of such disaster and submit a plan for altering the school term. If the State Board of Education finds such disaster to be the cause of the school not operating for the contemplated school term and that such school was in a school district covered by the Governor's or President's disaster declaration, it may permit said school board to operate the schools in its district for less than one hundred seventy (170) days.
SECTION 3. Section 37-151-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-151-5. As used in Sections 37-151-3, 37-151-5 and 37-151-7:
(a) "Adequate program" or "adequate education program" or "Mississippi Adequate Education Program (M.A.E.P.)" shall mean the program to establish adequate current operation funding levels necessary for the programs of such school district to meet at least Level III of the accreditation system as established by the State Board of Education, acting through the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation, regardless of the school district's geographic location.
(b) "Educational programs or elements of programs not included in the adequate education program calculations, but which may be included in appropriations and transfers to school districts" shall mean:
(i) "Capital outlay" shall mean those funds used for the constructing, improving, equipping, renovating or major repairing of school buildings or other school facilities, or the cost of acquisition of land whereon to construct or establish such school facilities.
(ii) "Pilot programs" shall mean programs of a pilot or experimental nature usually designed for special purposes and for a specified period of time other than those included in the adequate education program.
(iii) "Adult education" shall mean public education dealing primarily with students above eighteen (18) years of age not enrolled as full-time public school students and not classified as students of technical schools, colleges or universities of the state.
(iv) "Food service programs" shall mean those programs dealing directly with the nutritional welfare of the student, such as the school lunch and school breakfast programs.
(c) "Base student" shall mean that student classification that represents the most economically educated pupil in a school system meeting Level III accreditation, as determined by the State Board of Education.
(d) "Base student cost" shall mean the funding level necessary for providing an adequate education program for one (1) base student, subject to any minimum amounts prescribed in Section 37-151-7(1).
(e) "Add-on program costs" shall mean those items which are included in the adequate education program appropriations and are outside of the program calculations:
(i) "Transportation" shall mean transportation to and from public schools for the students of Mississippi's public schools provided for under law and funded from state funds.
(ii) "Vocational or technical education program" shall mean a secondary vocational or technical program approved by the State Department of Education and provided for from state funds.
(iii) "Special education program" shall mean a program for exceptional children as defined and authorized by Sections 37-23-1 through 37-23-9, and approved by the State Department of Education and provided from state funds.
(iv) "Gifted education program" shall mean those programs for the instruction of intellectually or academically gifted children as defined and provided for in Section 37-23-175 et seq.
(v) "Alternative school program" shall mean those programs for certain compulsory-school-age students as defined and provided for in Sections 37-13-92 and 37-19-22.
(vi) "Extended school year programs" shall mean those programs authorized by law which extend beyond the normal school year.
(vii) "University-based programs" shall mean those university-based programs for handicapped children as defined and provided for in Section 37-23-131 et seq.
(viii) "Bus driver training" programs shall mean those driver training programs as provided for in Section 37-41-1.
(f) "Teacher" shall include any employee of a local school who is required by law to obtain a teacher's license from the State Board of Education and who is assigned to an instructional area of work as defined by the State Department of Education.
(g) "Principal" shall mean the head of an attendance center or division thereof.
(h) "Superintendent" shall mean the head of a school district.
(i) "School district" shall mean any type of school district in the State of Mississippi, and shall include agricultural high schools.
(j) "Minimum school term" shall mean a term of at least one hundred seventy (170) days of school in which both teachers and pupils are in regular attendance for scheduled classroom instruction for not less than sixty percent (60%) of the normal school day. It is the intent of the Legislature that any tax levies generated to produce additional local funds required by any school district to operate school terms in excess of one hundred seventy (170) days shall not be construed to constitute a new program for the purposes of exemption from the limitation on tax revenues as allowed under Sections 27-39-321 and 37-57-107 for new programs mandated by the Legislature.
(k) The term "transportation density" shall mean the number of transported children in average daily attendance per square mile of area served in a school district, as determined by the State Department of Education.
(l) The term "transported children" shall mean children being transported to school who live within legal limits for transportation and who are otherwise qualified for being transported to school at public expense as fixed by Mississippi state law.
(m) The term "year of teaching experience" shall mean nine (9) months of actual teaching in the public or private schools. In no case shall more than one (1) year of teaching experience be given for all services in one (1) calendar or school year. In determining a teacher's experience, no deduction shall be made because of the temporary absence of the teacher because of illness or other good cause, and the teacher shall be given credit therefor. Beginning with the 2003-2004 school year, the State Board of Education shall fix a number of days, not to exceed forty-five (45) consecutive school days, during which a teacher may not be under contract of employment during any school year and still be considered to have been in full-time employment for a regular scholastic term. If a teacher exceeds the number of days established by the State Board of Education that a teacher may not be under contract but may still be employed, that teacher shall not be credited with a year of teaching experience. In determining the experience of school librarians, each complete year of continuous, full-time employment as a professional librarian in a public library in this or some other state shall be considered a year of teaching experience. If a full-time school administrator returns to actual teaching in the public schools, the term "year of teaching experience" shall include the period of time he or she served as a school administrator. In determining the salaries of teachers who have experience in any branch of the military, the term "year of teaching experience" shall include each complete year of actual classroom instruction while serving in the military. In determining the experience of speech-language pathologists and audiologists, each complete year of continuous full-time post master's degree employment in an educational setting in this or some other state shall be considered a year of teaching experience.
(n) The term "average daily attendance" shall be the figure which results when the total aggregate attendance during the period or months counted is divided by the number of days during the period or months counted upon which both teachers and pupils are in regular attendance for scheduled classroom instruction less the average daily attendance for self-contained special education classes and, prior to full implementation of the adequate education program the department shall deduct the average daily attendance for the alternative school program provided for in Section 37-19-22.
(o) The term "local supplement" shall mean the amount paid to an individual teacher over and above the adequate education program salary schedule for regular teaching duties.
(p) The term "aggregate amount of support from ad valorem taxation" shall mean the amounts produced by the district's total tax levies for operations.
(q) The term "adequate education program funds" shall mean all funds, both state and local, constituting the requirements for meeting the cost of the adequate program as provided for in Section 37-151-7.
(r) "Department" shall mean the State Department of Education.
(s) "Commission" shall mean the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation created under Section 37-17-3.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.