MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2014 Regular Session

To: Education; Appropriations

By: Representative Mayo

House Bill 760

(COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE)

AN ACT TO CREATE NEW SECTION 37-7-104.4, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT IN COAHOMA COUNTY THERE SHALL BE AN ADMINISTRATIVE CONSOLIDATION OF THE COAHOMA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE CLARKSDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT INTO ONE SCHOOL DISTRICT TO BE DESIGNATED AS CLARKSDALE-COAHOMA CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT, WHICH SHALL BE A COUNTYWIDE MUNICIPAL SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICT EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2016; TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE NEW CLARKSDALE-COAHOMA CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT; TO DIRECT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO ADMINISTRATIVELY CONSOLIDATE ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT WHICH DOES NOT VOLUNTARILY FOLLOW THE CONSOLIDATION ORDER; TO ABOLISH THE FORMER SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOLLOWING THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONSOLIDATION AND PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSFER OF SCHOOL DISTRICT ASSETS AND LIABILITIES; TO PROVIDE FOR EXECUTION OF TEACHER AND SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE CONTRACTS AND THE PREPARATION OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET IN THE NEW SCHOOL DISTRICT; TO DIRECT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE CONSOLIDATION; TO PROVIDE A TWO-YEAR WAIVER FROM ACCOUNTABILITY AND STATE ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR THE NEW STUDENT POPULATION; TO AMEND SECTION 37-7-103, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 37-7-104.4, Mississippi Code of 1972:

     37-7-104.4.  (1)  In Coahoma County, Mississippi, in which are located, as of January 1, 2014, three (3) school districts, there shall be an administrative consolidation of the Coahoma County School District and the Clarksdale School District into one (1) new countywide municipal separate school district to be designated as Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District which shall consist of the territory of the former Coahoma County School District and the Clarksdale School District, effective on July 1, 2016.  The central administrative office of the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District shall be located in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

     (2)  On or before July 1, 2015, the State Board of Education shall serve the local school boards of the Coahoma County School District and the Clarksdale School District with notice and instructions regarding the timetable for action to be taken to comply with the administrative consolidation required in this section.  In the new Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District, there shall be a new board of trustees comprised of five (5) members selected as follows:  (a) the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Clarksdale shall appoint three (3) of the five (5) members, each to be selected for a term of four (4) years; and (b) two (2) members residing outside of the Clarksdale incorporated limits who shall be residents of that territory to be selected for a term of four (4) years by the county board of supervisors in the manner prescribed in Section 37-7-203(1).  The Board of Supervisors of Coahoma County shall thereafter publish the same in some newspaper of general circulation in the county for at least three (3) consecutive weeks and after having given notice of publication and recording the same upon the minutes of the school boards of each school district in the county.  Any school district affected by the required administrative consolidation in the county that does not voluntarily consolidate as ordered by the State Board of Education shall be administratively consolidated by the State Board of Education, to be effective immediately upon action of the State Board of Education.  The State Board of Education shall promptly move on its own motion to administratively consolidate a school district which does not voluntarily consolidate in order to enable the affected school districts to reasonably accomplish the resulting administrative consolidation into one (1) consolidated school district by July 1 following the motion to consolidate. The affected school districts shall comply with any consolidation order issued by the State Board of Education.

     (3)  On July 1, 2016, following the motion of the State Board of Education to consolidate school districts in Coahoma County and the selection of the new Board of Trustees of the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District, the former Coahoma County School District and Board of Education and the former Board of Trustees of the Clarksdale School District shall be abolished.  All real and personal property which is owned or titled in the name of the school district located in such former school district shall be transferred to the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District.  The Board of Trustees of the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District shall be responsible for establishing the contracts for teachers, principals, clerical and administrative staff personnel for the 2016-2017 school year following the required administrative consolidation and each year thereafter.  The new Board of Trustees for the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District shall appoint the superintendent of schools for the school district.  The superintendent of schools for the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District may appoint an assistant superintendent of schools for the district, but in no instance shall the administrative leadership of the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District have more assistant superintendents of education than the former Clarksdale School District.  The subsequent superintendent of schools of the consolidated school district shall not be elected, but shall thereafter be appointed by the successor board of trustees in the manner provided in Section 37-9-25.  It shall be the responsibility of the successor board of trustees to prepare and approve the budget of the new consolidated district, and the successor board of trustees may use staff from the former school districts to prepare the budget.  Any proposed order of the State Board of Education directing the transfer of the assets, real or personal property of an affected school district in the county, shall be final and conclusive for the purposes of the transfer of property required by such administrative consolidation.

     (4)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the closing of any school or school facility, unless the facility is an unneeded administrative office located within a school district which has been abolished under the provisions of this section.  All administrative consolidations under this section shall be accomplished so as not to delay or in any manner negatively affect the desegregation of another school district in the county pursuant to court order.

     (5)  The State Board of Education shall promulgate rules and regulations to facilitate the administrative consolidation of the school districts in Coahoma County pursuant to this section.  The consolidated districts shall make an election within one (1) year of consolidation concerning the group term life insurance described in Section 25-15-9(7).

     (6)  For the initial two (2) years following the administrative consolidation required by this section, the State Department of Education shall grant a waiver of accountability and state assessment requirements to the Clarksdale-Coahoma Consolidated School District for the student population enrolled therein from the former Coahoma County School District when determining the new consolidated school district accreditation level on the performance and accountability rating model.

     (7)  The administrative consolidation required under this section shall not apply to Coahoma Agricultural High School.

     SECTION 2.  Section 37-7-103, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     37-7-103.  From and after July 1, 1987, the school board of any school district shall have full jurisdiction, power and authority, at any regular meeting thereof or at any special meeting called for that purpose, to abolish such existing district, or to reorganize, change or alter the boundaries of any such district.  In addition thereto, with the consent of the school board of the school district involved, the school board may add to such school district any part of the school district adjoining same, and with the consent of the school board of the school district involved, may detach territory from such school district and annex same to an adjoining district.  Provided, however, that the consent of the school board of the school districts involved in implementing the provisions of Sections 37-7-104 * * *or Section, 37-7-104.2 * * *or Section, 37-7-104.3, 37-7-104.4 and 37-27-79, shall not be required for the administrative consolidation of such school districts pursuant to the order of the State Board of Education.

     SECTION 3.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2014.