2007 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 AND TO CLARIFY THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS MAY PAY SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS FROM ANY AVAILABLE FUND OF THE DISTRICT; 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 and teacher assistants 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 and teacher assistant, 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 and teacher assistant if the licensed employee or teacher assistant remains employed in the same school district. In the event any public school licensed employee or teacher assistant transfers from one public school district in Mississippi to another, any unused portion of the total sick leave allowance credited to such licensed employee or teacher assistant shall be credited to such licensed employee or teacher assistant 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 or teacher assistant may be made because of absence of such licensed employee or teacher assistant caused by illness or physical disability of the licensed employee or teacher assistant until after all sick leave allowance credited to such licensed employee or teacher assistant 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, unless on such days an immediate family member of the employee is being deployed for military service. 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. Any unused portion of the total personal leave allowance up to five (5) days 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.
(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, the meetings of the state textbook rating committees or other meetings authorized by local school board policy.
(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. No payment for unused accumulated leave may be made to either a licensed or nonlicensed employee at termination or separation from service for any purpose other than for the purpose of retirement.
(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 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 employee, or other appropriate penalties, for any materially false statement by the employee as to the cause of absence;
(c) Forfeiture of accumulated or future sick leave, if the absence of the 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 employees, necessitated because of the absence of regular licensed employees. All such substitute employees shall be paid wholly from any legally available funds of the district * * *, 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 adequate education program funds, the whole or any part of the salaries of all 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 and hourly paid school employees as the board deems appropriate.
(9) Vacation leave granted to either licensed or nonlicensed employees shall be synonymous with personal leave. Unused vacation or personal leave accumulated by licensed employees in excess of the maximum five (5) days which may be carried over from one year to the next may be converted to sick leave. The annual conversion of unused vacation or personal leave to sick days for licensed or unlicensed employees shall not exceed the allowable number of personal leave days as provided in Section 25-3-93. The annual total number of converted unused vacation and/or personal days added to the annual unused sick days for any employee shall not exceed the combined allowable number of days per year provided in Sections 25-3-93 and 25-3-95. Local school board policies that provide for vacation, personal and sick leave for employees shall not exceed the provisions for leave as provided in Sections 25-3-93 and 25-3-95. Any personal or vacation leave previously converted to sick leave under a lawfully adopted policy before May 1, 2004, or such personal or vacation leave accumulated and available for use prior to May 1, 2004, under a lawfully adopted policy but converted to sick leave after May 1, 2004, shall be recognized as accrued leave by the local school district and available for use by the employee. The leave converted under a lawfully adopted policy prior to May 1, 2004, or such personal and vacation leave accumulated and available for use as of May 1, 2004, which was subsequently converted to sick leave may be certified to the Public Employees' Retirement System upon termination of employment and any such leave previously converted and certified to the Public Employees' Retirement System shall be recognized.
(10) (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 life-threatening injury or illness of an employee or a member of an employee's immediate family that totally incapacitates the employee from work, as verified by a licensed physician, and forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee, resulting in the loss of compensation from the local school district for the employee. Conditions that are short-term in nature, including, but not limited to, common illnesses such as influenza and the measles, and common injuries, are not catastrophic. Chronic illnesses or injuries, such as cancer or major surgery, that result in intermittent absences from work and that are long-term in nature and require long recuperation periods may be considered catastrophic.
(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 available 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 programapproved 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) or by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 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 - Nontraditional Teaching Route. Beginning January 1, 2004, an individual who has a passing score on the Praxis I Basic Skills and Praxis II Specialty Area Test in the requested area of endorsement may apply for the Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) program to teach students in Grades 7 through 12 if the individual meets the requirements of this paragraph (b). The State Board of Education shall adopt rules requiring that teacher preparation institutions which provide the Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) program for the preparation of nontraditional teachers shall meet the standards and comply with the provisions of this paragraph.
(i) The Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) shall include an intensive eight-week, nine-semester-hour summer program or a curriculum of study in which the student matriculates in the fall or spring semester, which shall include, but not be limited to, instruction in education, effective teaching strategies, classroom management, state curriculum requirements, planning and instruction, instructional methods and pedagogy, using test results to improve instruction, and a one (1) semester three-hour supervised internship to be completed while the teacher is employed as a full-time teacher intern in a local school district. The TMI shall be implemented on a pilot program basis, with courses to be offered at up to four (4) locations in the state, with one (1) TMI site to be located in each of the three (3) Mississippi Supreme Court districts.
(ii) The school sponsoring the teacher intern shall enter into a written agreement with the institution providing the Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) program, under terms and conditions as agreed upon by the contracting parties, providing that the school district shall provide teacher interns seeking a nontraditional provisional teaching license with a one-year classroom teaching experience. The teacher intern shall successfully complete the one (1) semester three-hour intensive internship in the school district during the semester immediately following successful completion of the TMI and prior to the end of the one-year classroom teaching experience.
(iii) Upon completion of the nine-semester-hour TMI or the fall or spring semester option, the individual shall submit his transcript to the commission for provisional licensure of the intern teacher, and the intern teacher shall be issued a provisional teaching license by the commission, which will allow the individual to legally serve as a teacher while the person completes a nontraditional teacher preparation internship program.
(iv) During the semester of internship in the school district, the teacher preparation institution shall monitor the performance of the intern teacher. The school district that employs the provisional teacher shall supervise the provisional teacher during the teacher's intern year of employment under a nontraditional provisional license, and shall, in consultation with the teacher intern's mentor at the school district of employment, submit to the commission a comprehensive evaluation of the teacher's performance sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the nontraditional provisional license. If the comprehensive evaluation establishes that the provisional teacher intern's performance fails to meet the standards of the approved nontraditional teacher preparation internship program, the individual shall not be approved for a standard license.
(v) An individual issued a provisional teaching license under this nontraditional route shall successfully complete, at a minimum, a one-year beginning teacher mentoring and induction program administered by the employing school district with the assistance of the State Department of Education.
(vi) Upon successful completion of the TMI and the internship provisional license period, applicants for a Standard License - Nontraditional Route shall submit to the commission a transcript of successful completion of the twelve (12) semester hours required in the internship program, and the employing school district shall submit to the commission a recommendation for standard licensure of the intern. If the school district recommends licensure, the applicant shall be issued a Standard License - Nontraditional Route which shall be valid for a five-year period and be renewable.
(vii) At the discretion of the teacher preparation institution, the individual shall be allowed to credit the twelve (12) semester hours earned in the nontraditional teacher internship program toward the graduate hours required for a Master of Arts in Teacher (MAT) Degree.
(viii) The local school district in which the nontraditional teacher intern or provisional licensee is employed shall compensate such teacher interns at Step 1 of the required salary level during the period of time such individual is completing teacher internship requirements and shall compensate such Standard License - Nontraditional Route teachers at Step 3 of the required salary level when they complete license requirements.
Implementation of the TMI program provided for under this paragraph (b) shall be contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated specifically for such purpose by the Legislature. Such implementation of the TMI program may not be deemed to prohibit the State Board of Education from developing and implementing additional alternative route teacher licensure programs, as deemed appropriate by the board. The emergency certification program in effect prior to July 1, 2002, shall remain in effect.
The State Department of Education shall compile and report, in consultation with the commission, information relating to nontraditional teacher preparation internship programs, including the number of programs available and geographic areas in which they are available, the number of individuals who apply for and possess a nontraditional conditional license, the subject areas in which individuals who possess nontraditional conditional licenses are teaching and where they are teaching, and shall submit its findings and recommendations to the legislative committees on education by December 1, 2004.
A Standard License - Approved Program Routeshall 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 - Nontraditional 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) Special License - Transitional Bilingual Education. Beginning July 1, 2003, the commission shall grant special licenses to teachers of transitional bilingual education who possess such qualifications as are prescribed in this section. Teachers of transitional bilingual education shall be compensated by local school boards at not less than one (1) step on the regular salary schedule applicable to permanent teachers licensed under this section. The commission shall grant special licenses to teachers of transitional bilingual education who present the commission with satisfactory evidence that they (i) possess a speaking and reading ability in a language, other than English, in which bilingual education is offered and communicative skills in English; (ii) are in good health and sound moral character; (iii) possess a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree in teacher education from an accredited institution of higher education; (iv) meet such requirements as to courses of study, semester hours therein, experience and training as may be required by the commission; and (v) are legally present in the United States and possess legal authorization for employment. A teacher of transitional bilingual education serving under a special license shall be under an exemption from standard licensure if he achieves the requisite qualifications therefor. Two (2) years of service by a teacher of transitional bilingual education under such an exemption shall be credited to the teacher in acquiring a Standard Educator License. Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to prohibit a local school board from employing a teacher licensed in an appropriate field as approved by the State Department of Education to teach in a program in transitional bilingual education.
(g) 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.
(h) Highly Qualified Teachers. Beginning July 1, 2006, any teacher from any state meeting the federal definition of highly qualified, as described in the No Child Left Behind Act, must be granted a standard five-year license by the State Department of Education.
(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 having 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 - Nontraditional Route. The board may establish a nontraditional route for licensing administrative personnel. Such nontraditional 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, a master of public planning and policy degree or a doctor of jurisprudence 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.
The State Department of Education shall compile and report, in consultation with the commission, information relating to nontraditional administrator preparation internship programs, including the number of programs available and geographic areas in which they are available, the number of individuals who apply for and possess a nontraditional conditional license and where they are employed, and shall submit its findings and recommendations to the legislative committees on education by December 1, 2004.
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.
(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. 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 only be reinstated by a majority vote of all members of the commission present at the meeting called for such purpose.
(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 or revoked 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, suspended or surrendered 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, 2007.