2005 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Ross, Flowers, Chaney, Nunnelee, White
AN ACT TO CODIFY SECTION 37-7-104, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR A MANDATORY ADMINISTRATIVE REORGANIZATION OF CERTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH SMALL STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND WHICH DO NOT MEET CERTAIN ACCREDITATION STANDARDS AND LOCAL FUNDING REQUIREMENTS; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICTS SUBJECT TO MANDATORY ADMINISTRATIVE CONSOLIDATION SHALL BE IDENTIFIED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION; TO PRESCRIBE A PROCEDURE FOR VOLUNTARY CONSOLIDATION AND A PROCEDURE FOR MANDATORY CONSOLIDATION; TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE CONSOLIDATION SHALL NOT REQUIRE THE CLOSING OF ANY SCHOOL OR SCHOOL FACILITY AND TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL HAVE ONE SUPERINTENDENT; TO DIRECT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO ISSUE ORDERS AND REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO FACILITATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONSOLIDATION REQUIRED UNDER THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 37-7-104, Mississippi Code of 1972:
37-7-104. (1) Definitions. As used in this section:
(a) "Administrative annexation" means the joining of an affected school district or a part of the school district with a receiving district;
(b) "Administrative consolidation" means the joining of two (2) or more school districts to create a new single school district with one (1) administrative unit and one (1) school board that is not required to close school facilities;
(c) "Affected district" means a school district that loses territory or students as a result of administrative annexation or consolidation;
(d) (i) "Average daily attendance" means the total number of days attended plus the total number of days absent by students in grades kindergarten through twelve (K-12) during the first three (3) quarters of each school year divided by the number of school days actually taught in the district during that period of time rounded up to the nearest hundredth;
(ii) Students who may be counted for average daily attendance are:
1. Students who reside within the boundaries of the school district and who are enrolled in a public school operated by the district or a private school for special education students, with their attendance resulting from a written tuition agreement approved by the State Department of Education;
2. Legally transferred students living outside the district but attending a public school in the district; and
3. Students who reside within the boundaries of the school district and who are enrolled in the Mississippi National Guard Youth Challenge Program, so long as the students are participants in the program;
(e) "Consolidated average daily attendance" means the sum of the average daily attendance for each school district included in a consolidation;
(f) "Receiving district" means a school district or districts that receive territory, students or both, from an affected district as a result of administrative annexation; and
(g) "Resulting district" means the new school district created from an affected district or districts as a result of administrative consolidation.
(2) Administrative consolidation list. By February 1, 2006, and each February 1 thereafter, the State Department of Education shall publish a consolidation list that includes all school districts with fewer than nine hundred (900) students according to the district's average daily attendance in each of the two (2) school years immediately preceding the current school year. Any such school district with fewer than nine hundred (900) students shall comply with the administrative consolidation requirements prescribed under subsection (3) unless the school district (a) is accredited at Level 4 or higher by the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation, and (b) the school district certifies to the State Board of Education that the following budget function codes for central office administration are funded from local school district maintenance tax levies and not from Mississippi Adequate Education Program funds:
2310 Local Board of Education Services
2311 Supervision of Board of Education Services
2319 Other Board of Education Services
2320 Executive Administration Services
2321 Office of School Superintendent Services
2329 Other Executive Administration Services
2330 Special Area Administration Services
SUPPORT SERVICES - CENTRAL:
2810 Planning, Research, Development and
2820 Information Services:
2821 Supervision of Information Services
2822 Internal Information Services
2823 Public Information Services
2824 Management Information Services
2829 Other Information Services
2830 Staff Services:
2831 Supervision of Staff Services
2832 Recruitment and Placement Services
2834 In-Service Training Services (for
2839 Other Staff Services
2840 Data Processing Services:
2841 Supervising Data Processing Services
2842 Systems Analysis Services
2843 Programming Services
2844 Operations Services
2849 Other Data Processing Services
(3) Administrative reorganization procedures.
(a) (i) Any school district included in the State Department of Education's consolidation list pursuant to subsection (2), which is required to administratively consolidate, may voluntarily agree to administratively consolidate with or be annexed to another district or districts in accordance with the requirements and limitations of this section. Any school district on the consolidation list choosing to voluntarily administratively consolidate or annex shall submit a petition for approval to the State Board of Education by April 1 immediately following publication of the list and shall set forth the terms of the administrative consolidation or annexation agreement in the plan. If the petition is approved by the State Board of Education, the administrative consolidation or annexation shall be completed by June 1, to be effective on the July 1 immediately following the publication of the list required under subsection (2). The State Board of Education shall not deny the petition for voluntary administrative consolidation or annexation of any two (2) or more school districts unless:
1. The provisions contained in the articles of administrative consolidation or annexation would violate state or federal law; or
2. The voluntary consolidation or annexation would not contribute to the betterment of the education of students in the districts.
(ii) Any school district on the consolidation list that does not submit a petition pursuant to subsection (3)(a)(i) or that does not receive approval by the State Board of Education for a voluntary consolidation or annexation petition shall be administratively consolidated by the State Board of Education with or into one or more school districts by June 1, to be effective on the July 1 immediately following the publication of the list required under subsection (2).
(iii) The State Board of Education shall promptly consider petitions or move on its own motion to administratively consolidate a school district on the consolidation list in order to enable the affected school districts to reasonably accomplish any resulting administrative consolidation or annexation by July 1 immediately following the publication of the list required under subsection (2).
(b) Any school district required to be administratively consolidated under this section shall be administratively consolidated in such a manner as to create a resulting district with an average daily attendance meeting or exceeding nine hundred (900).
(c) After the administrative consolidation order is approved by the State Board of Education, the consolidation shall be submitted by the State Board of Education to the appropriate federal agencies for approval. After all preclearance has been received, the State Board of Education shall declare the new boundaries of the consolidated school district and all action shall proceed as outlined under law using the new boundaries. Upon preclearance of such consolidation, all affected and receiving school boards shall approve a joint resolution for the new election or appointment of new board members from new districts as provided by law. These elections or appointments shall be scheduled prior to May 1 of the year in which the consolidation is to become effective. The new consolidated district shall become effective on July 1 of that same year. The superintendent of any district created through consolidation shall be appointed. The superintendent shall begin work as the superintendent on July 1 of such year when the consolidation becomes effective. The order to consolidate shall invalidate the contracts of the superintendents of the preceding districts and shall terminate the term of the superintendent if that person was elected. The order to consolidate shall invalidate the term of any school board member of the affected or receiving district beyond July 1 of that year whether they are elected or appointed. Any school board member from any school district may be eligible to run for election or be appointed to the new consolidated school board. Each school board shall be responsible for establishing the contracts for teachers and principals for the next school year with the consultation of the successor school board if they have been selected at the time such decisions are to be made. The selection of administrator in the central administration office shall be the responsibility of the successor school board. No existing dates for renewal of contracts shall invalidate the responsibility of the successor school board in taking such action. The successor school board may enter into these contracts at any time following their election or appointment, but no later than July 1 of that year. It shall also be the responsibility of the successor school board to prepare and approve the budget of the new district. The successor school board may use staff from the existing districts to prepare the budget. The school board shall have authority to approve the budget prior to the July 1 date and shall follow the time line established for budget preparation under the law. Any order directing the transfer of the assets, real or personal property of a school district on the administrative consolidation list issued by the State Board of Education shall be submitted to and approved by the State Board of Education. The finding of the State Board of Education shall be final and conclusive for the purposes of the transfer of property required by an administrative consolidation. Any person or school district aggrieved by an order of a school board adopted pursuant to the requirements of this section may appeal therefrom to the State Board of Education within ten (10) days from the date of the adjournment of the meeting at which such order is entered. Such appeal shall be de novo, and the finding of the State Board of Education upon such question shall be final and conclusive for the purpose of the approval or disapproval of the action by said board.
(d) All administrative consolidations or annexations under this section shall be accomplished so as not to create a school district that hampers, delays or in any manner negatively affects the desegregation of another school district in this state.
(e) In the administratively consolidated or annexed school districts created under this section, the ad valorem tax rate shall be determined as set forth under Section 31-57-1 et seq.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the closing of any school or school facility.
(g) No administratively consolidated or annexed school district shall have more than one (1) superintendent.
(h) No school district administratively consolidated with a school district designated by the State Board of Education as being in academic or fiscal distress shall be subject to academic or fiscal distress sanctions for a period of three (3) years from the effective date of consolidation unless:
(i) The school district fails to meet minimum teacher salary requirements; or
(ii) The school district fails to comply with the Standards for Accreditation of Mississippi Public Schools issued by the State Department of Education.
(i) Noncontiguous school districts may voluntarily consolidate if:
(i) The facilities and physical plant of each school district are within the same county; and the State Board of Education approves the administrative consolidation; or
(ii) The facilities and physical plant of each school district are not within the same county; and the State Board of Education approves the administrative consolidation or annexation and finds that:
1. The consolidation or annexation will result in the overall improvement in the educational benefit to students in all of the school districts involved; or
2. The consolidation or annexation will provide a significant advantage in transportation costs or service to all of the school districts involved.
(j) Contiguous districts may administratively consolidate even if they are not in the same county.
(k) When any school district on the administrative consolidation list issued by the State Board of Education is abolished under the provisions of this section, the abolition thereof shall not impair or release the property of such school district from liability for the payment of the bonds or other indebtedness of such district, and it shall be the duty of the board of supervisors of said county to levy taxes on the property of said district so abolished from year to year according to the terms of such indebtedness until same shall be fully paid.
(l) The State Board of Education shall promulgate rules to facilitate the administration of this section.
(4) Charter schools. The provisions of this section shall not apply to charter schools in existence on the effective date of this act or to schools achieving charter status by June 1, 2006.
SECTION 2. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.