2019 Regular Session
By: Representatives Staples, Dixon, Ford
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE VICKSBURG-WARREN SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE CLAIBORNE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION TO ESTABLISH A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ENTERGY GRAND GULF NUCLEAR STATION, WARREN COUNTY AND THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY FOR A NUCLEAR HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMY; TO PRESCRIBE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE NUCLEAR HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMY PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL TO ADMINISTER THE ACADEMY; TO PROVIDE THAT THE ACADEMY MODEL SHALL PROVIDE QUALIFIED STUDENTS FROM EIGHTH GRADE THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL WITH CAREER EXPLORATION AND INTERNSHIPS WITHIN THE ENTERGY GRAND GULF NUCLEAR STATION; TO PROVIDE CRITERIA FOR THE NUCLEAR HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMY; TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF BUILDINGS, TEACHERS AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING FOR THE OPERATION OF THE ACADEMY TO BE PROVIDED ON A PHASED-IN BASIS; TO ESTABLISH A NUCLEAR ACADEMY FUND FOR START-UP AND OPERATIONAL COSTS ADMINISTERED BY THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CONSISTING OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Board of Trustees of the Vicksburg-Warren School District and the Claiborne County Board of Education are authorized to make application to the Mississippi Development Authority for the approval of entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Entergy Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and Warren County and the State of Mississippi for the establishment of a partnership for the operation of a Nuclear High School Academy. The purpose of the Nuclear High School Academy (Nuclear Academy) shall be to provide qualified students attending school in Warren and/or Claiborne county in the eighth through twelfth grade with career education, student internships and continuing education for careers at the Entergy Grand Gulf Nuclear Station.
(2) The Nuclear High School Academy shall be under the administrative direction of the Nuclear High School Academy Partnership Council (Partnership Council) consisting of one (1) member from each of the following entities: (a) the Chief Executive Officer of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, or his designee, who shall serve as chairman of the council; (b) a designee of the Mississippi Development Authority; (c) a member of the Board of Trustees of the Vicksburg-Warren School District; (d) a member of the Claiborne County Board of Education; (e) a member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors; and (f) a member of the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce. The Partnership Council shall meet on or before August 1, 2019, and organize for business and adopt necessary regulations for the operation of the Nuclear High School Academy. Meetings shall be held upon the call of the chairman and shall be coordinated by the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce.
(3) The Mississippi Development Authority shall promulgate administrative rules and regulations to prescribe the criteria to be used by the Partnership Council in the establishment of the Nuclear High School Academy, which shall include the following criteria:
(a) This academy model will place a high value on first-hand experience in order that students can make informed choices about a career in nuclear energy;
(b) The Nuclear Academy will be combined with the current academy model in existence at Vicksburg-Warren School District and the Claiborne County School District;
(c) Within the academy model shall be multiple curriculum options giving the students the opportunity to explore different career options before selecting a career track. Students will complete a minimum of three (3) courses in their curriculum option while also completing the courses necessary for admission to a college or university. At the end of the ninth grade, students decide which career academy they will join for their last three (3) years of high school and the Nuclear Academy will be one (1) of these choices for the students;
(d) Participation in the Nuclear Academy shall be limited to Mississippi residents who are entering Grades 8 through 12 in the Vicksburg-Warren School district or the Claiborne County School District and who have submitted to the Mississippi Development Authority a completed application on the form designed and supplied by the MDA. The MDA shall make applications available to each school district on October 1 of each year and shall establish the deadline for accepting applications. Upon the closing date for acceptance of applications, MDA shall forward the completed applications to the Principal of the Nuclear Academy who shall determine the number of openings available for participation in the academy for the upcoming school year. Students participating in the Nuclear Academy shall be counted in the average daily attendance of the home district of the residence of the student for purposes of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, and the transfer of such students into the Nuclear Academy program shall not require approval of the local school board;
(e) The Nuclear Academy shall be under the administrative direction of a principal appointed by the Nuclear High School Academy Partnership Council. The team of teachers at the Nuclear Academy shall be appointed by the principal. Teachers shall be employed on extended employment contracts and compensated on a salary schedule developed by the Partnership Council. Operational costs and capital outlay funds for the Nuclear Academy shall be funded by a network of business and community partners with the approval of the Partnership Council. Existing facilities of the Vicksburg-Warren School District, the Claiborne County School District and the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station may be used for conducting instructional classes for the Nuclear Academy. Transportation for students attending classes at the Nuclear Academy may be provided by the Vicksburg-Warren School District or the Claiborne County School District or by the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station;
(f) No students may be served during the first six (6) months of the first year of operation, and this time shall be utilized for recruiting personnel, establishing curriculum, ordering equipment, and establishing classrooms. After the Nuclear Academy is operational, eighth-grade students are provided the opportunity to explore nuclear industry career options and university options before selecting a career option at the Nuclear Academy. Sophomores at the Nuclear Academy will participate in industry-related field trips to experience first-hand work at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and related industries. Juniors at the academy will engage in a full-day job shadow of a professional in that career. Seniors will complete an internship or service-learning project;
(g) Teachers at the academy will complete multiday externships with business partners between semesters to create a learning environment that equals the real-world experience;
(h) Students have the opportunity to earn college and university credit and industry credentials while attending the Nuclear Academy aligned to the community colleges and university curriculum requirements;
(i) The Nuclear Academy shall be phased in as a pilot program in order to share facilities, equipment, online learning, professional development, mentoring and cost sharing of expenses within the existing Vicksburg-Warren/Claiborne County school districts in or to fully implement the model within three (3) years; and
(j) The Nuclear Academy may be operated on a flexible school calendar using alternative education programs and services delivered online or in nontraditional hours and which may be jointly provided in cooperation with another school district and with the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, notwithstanding any statute or accreditation standard to the contrary.
(4) (a) There is established in the State Treasury a fund to be known as the "Nuclear High School Academy Fund." The purpose of the fund is to provide necessary financial support to local school districts and the Mississippi Development Authority for start-up costs and costs associated with implementing and operating the Nuclear Academy established under this section. The fund may consist of monies obtained from grants from any public or private source. The Mississippi Development Authority shall administer the fund pursuant to appropriation by the Legislature, and may apply for any grants from the federal government or private sources.
(b) The Mississippi Development Authority shall prepare a three-year budget proposal for the operation of the Nuclear Academy which shall include staff and liaison salary estimates, equipment and facility costs and job demand estimates. This budget shall be submitted to the Governor, the Legislative Budget Office and the Partnership Council and updated annually.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2019.