2007 Regular Session
By: Representative Watson
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-6-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE MEMBERS OF SCHOOL BOARDS TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM; TO AMEND SECTION 25-11-109, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-6-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-6-13. (1) Each person serving as a member of the school board of any school district shall receive per diem in the amount of Sixty-seven Dollars ($67.00) for no more than thirty-six (36) meetings of the school board during any one (1) fiscal year or, in his or her discretion, irrevocably may choose to receive as compensation for his or her services an annual salary in the amount of Two Thousand Four Hundred Dollars ($2,400.00), which choice shall remain in force for all successive terms or periods of service of that member. The receipt of the compensation shall not entitle any member of a school board to receive or be eligible for any state employee group insurance * * * or other fringe benefits; however, any member of a school board may become a member of the Public Employees' Retirement System if that school board member meets the eligibility requirements prescribed under Article 3, Chapter 11, Title 25, Mississippi Code of 1972. Each member shall be reimbursed for the necessary expenses and mileage in attending meetings of the school board. In addition to the foregoing, all members may be reimbursed for mileage and actual expenses incurred in the further performance of their duties, including attendance at any mandatory school board training session or at regional and national education meetings, when the mileage and other expenses are authorized by the board before the date on which they occur. Detailed vouchers shall be submitted for reimbursement for all expenses authorized by this section. The reimbursement shall be in accordance with Section 25-3-41.
The expenses shall be paid on order of the school board by pay certificates issued by the superintendent of the school district involved against the funds available for payment of the administrative expense of the district.
(2) (a) If a member of a school board misses twenty percent (20%) or more of the meetings of the school board during a calendar year, except for absences caused by required military duty, the member must reimburse the school district that portion of the total salary paid to the member that year that is proportionate to the number of meetings missed by the member in relation to the total number of school board meetings held during that year. For purposes of this subsection, consideration may be given only to meetings of which public notice is required.
(b) Before February 1 of each year, the president of each local school board shall submit a report to the State Board of Education containing the names of any members of the school board who missed twenty percent (20%) or more of the school board meetings during the preceding calendar year.
SECTION 2. Section 25-11-109, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-11-109. (1) Under such rules and regulations as the board * * * shall adopt, each person who becomes a member of this retirement system, as provided in Section 25-11-105, on or before July 1, 1953, or who becomes a member and contributes to the system for a minimum period of four (4) years, shall receive credit for all state service rendered before February 1, 1953. To receive the credit, the member shall file a detailed statement of all services as an employee rendered by him in the state service before February 1, 1953. For any member who joined the system after July 1, 1953, any creditable service for which the member is not required to make contributions shall not be credited to the member until the member has contributed to the system for a minimum period of at least four (4) years.
(2) In the computation of membership service or prior service under the provisions of this article, the total months of accumulative service during any fiscal year shall be calculated in accordance with the schedule as follows: ten (10) or more months of creditable service during any fiscal year shall constitute a year of creditable service; seven (7) months to nine (9) months inclusive, three-quarters (3/4) of a year of creditable service; four (4) months to six (6) months inclusive, one-half-year of creditable service; one (1) month to three (3) months inclusive, one-quarter (1/4) of a year of creditable service. In no case shall credit be allowed for any period of absence without compensation except for disability while in receipt of a disability retirement allowance, nor shall less than fifteen (15) days of service in any month, or service less than the equivalent of one-half (1/2) of the normal working load for the position and less than one-half (1/2) of the normal compensation for the position in any month, constitute a month of creditable service, nor shall more than one (1) year of service be creditable for all services rendered in any one (1) fiscal year; however, for a school employee, substantial completion of the legal school term when and where the service was rendered shall constitute a year of service credit for both prior service and membership service. Any state or local elected official shall be deemed a full-time employee for the purpose of creditable service for prior service or membership service. However, except as otherwise provided in Section 37-6-13, an appointed or elected official compensated on a per diem basis only shall not be allowed creditable service for terms of office.
In the computation of any retirement allowance or any annuity or benefits provided in this article, any fractional period of service of less than one (1) year shall be taken into account and a proportionate amount of the retirement allowance, annuity or benefit shall be granted for the fractional period of service.
In the computation of unused leave for creditable service authorized in Section 25-11-103, the following shall govern: twenty-one (21) days of unused leave shall constitute one (1) month of creditable service and in no case shall credit be allowed for any period of unused leave of less than fifteen (15) days. The number of months of unused leave shall determine the number of quarters or years of creditable service in accordance with the above schedule for membership and prior service. In order for the member to receive creditable service for the number of days of unused leave, the system must receive certification from the governing authority.
For the purpose of this subsection, for members of the system who are elected officers and who retire on or after July 1, 1987, the following shall govern:
(a) For service before July 1, 1984, the members shall receive credit for leave (combined personal and major medical) for service as an elected official before that date at the rate of thirty (30) days per year.
(b) For service on and after July 1, 1984, the member shall receive credit for personal and major medical leave beginning July 1, 1984, at the rates authorized in Sections 25-3-93 and 25-3-95, computed as a full-time employee.
(3) Subject to the above restrictions and to any rules and regulations as the board may adopt, the board shall verify, as soon as practicable after the filing of the statements of service, the services * * * claimed in the statements.
(4) Upon verification of the statement of prior service, the board shall issue a prior service certificate certifying to each member the length of prior service for which credit has been allowed on the basis of his statement of service. So long as membership continues, a prior service certificate shall be final and conclusive for retirement purposes as to the service, provided that any member may within five (5) years from the date of issuance or modification of the certificate request the board * * * to modify or correct his prior service certificate. Any modification or correction authorized shall only apply prospectively.
When membership ceases, the prior service certificates shall become void. If the employee again becomes a member, he shall enter the system as an employee not entitled to prior service credit except as provided in Sections 25-11-105(I), 25-11-113 and 25-11-117.
(5) Creditable service at retirement, on which the retirement allowance of a member shall be based, shall consist of the membership service rendered by him since he last became a member, and also, if he has a prior service certificate that is in full force and effect, the amount of the service certified on his prior service certificate.
(6) Any member who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, who served in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service before 1972 or who served in maritime service during periods of hostility in World War II, shall be entitled to creditable service at no cost for his service on active duty in the Armed Forces, in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service before 1972 or in * * * maritime service, provided that he entered state service after his discharge from the Armed Forces or entered state service after he completed the maritime service. The maximum period for * * * creditable service for all military service as defined in this subsection (6) shall not exceed four (4) years unless positive proof can be furnished by the person that he was retained in the Armed Forces during World War II or in maritime service during World War II by causes beyond his control and without opportunity of discharge. The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board * * * of certification of military service or maritime service records showing dates of entrance into active duty service and the date of discharge. From and after July 1, 1993, no creditable service shall be granted for any military service or maritime service to a member who qualifies for a retirement allowance in another public retirement system administered by the board * * * based in whole or in part on * * * military or maritime service. In no case shall the member receive creditable service if the member received a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States.
(7) (a) Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System whose membership service is interrupted as a result of qualified military service within the meaning of Section 414(u)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code, and who has received the maximum service credit available under subsection (6) of this section, shall receive creditable service for the period of qualified military service that does not qualify as creditable service under subsection (6) of this section upon reentering membership service in an amount not to exceed five (5) years if:
(i) The member pays the contributions he would have made to the retirement system if he had remained in membership service for the period of qualified military service based upon his salary at the time his membership service was interrupted;
(ii) The member returns to membership service within ninety (90) days of the end of his qualified military service; and
(iii) The employer at the time the member's service was interrupted and to which employment the member returns pays the contributions it would have made into the retirement system for the period based on the member's salary at the time the service was interrupted.
(b) The payments required to be made in paragraph (a)(i) of this subsection may be made over a period beginning with the date of return to membership service and not exceeding three (3) times the member's qualified military service; however, in no event shall the period exceed five (5) years.
(c) The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board * * * of certification of military service showing dates of entrance into qualified service and the date of discharge as well as proof that the member has returned to active employment within the time specified.
(8) Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who has at least four (4) years of membership service credit shall be entitled to receive a maximum of five (5) years creditable service for service rendered in another state as a public employee of the other state, or a political subdivision, public education system or other governmental instrumentality thereof, or service rendered as a teacher in American overseas dependent schools conducted by the Armed Forces of the United States for children of citizens of the United States residing in areas outside the continental United States, provided that:
(a) The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board * * * of certification of the service from the state, public education system, political subdivision or retirement system of the state where the services were performed or the governing entity of the American overseas dependent school where the service was performed; and
(b) The member is not receiving or will not be entitled to receive from the public retirement system of the other state or from any other retirement plan, including optional retirement plans, sponsored by the employer, a retirement allowance including the service; and
(c) The member shall pay to the retirement system on the date he or she is eligible for credit for the out-of-state service or at any time thereafter before the date of retirement the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of out-of-state creditable service. The provisions of this subsection are subject to the limitations of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations promulgated under that section.
(9) Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who has at least four (4) years of membership service credit and who receives, or has received, professional leave without compensation for professional purposes directly related to the employment in state service shall receive creditable service for the period of professional leave without compensation provided:
(a) The professional leave is performed with a public institution or public agency of this state, or another state or federal agency;
(b) The employer approves the professional leave showing the reason for granting the leave and makes a determination that the professional leave will benefit the employee and employer;
(c) The professional leave shall not exceed two (2) years during any ten-year period of state service;
(d) The employee shall serve the employer on a full-time basis for a period of time equivalent to the professional leave period granted immediately following the termination of the leave period;
(e) The contributing member shall pay to the retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of professional leave. The provisions of this subsection are subject to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code limitations;
(f) Any other rules and regulations consistent with this subsection (9) as the board may adopt and in case of question, the board shall have final power to decide the questions.
Any actively contributing member participating in the School Administrator Sabbatical Program established in Section 37-9-77 shall qualify for continued participation under this subsection (9).
(10) Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who has at least four (4) years of credited membership service shall be entitled to receive a maximum of ten (10) years creditable service for:
(a) Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, that does not participate in the Public Employees' Retirement System; or
(b) Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, that participates in the Public Employees' Retirement System but did not elect retroactive coverage; or
(c) Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, for which coverage of the employee's position was or is excluded; provided that the member pays into the retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year, or portion thereof, of the service. Payment for the service may be made in increments of one-quarter-year of creditable service. After a member has made full payment to the retirement system for all or any part of the service, the member shall receive creditable service for the period of the service for which full payment has been made to the retirement system.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.