1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Dearing
Senate Bill 2402
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-3-2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ESTABLISH AND EMPOWER A COMMISSION ON PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS' STANDARDS AND PRACTICES, TO TRANSFER ALL RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING TEACHER PREPARATION, CERTIFICATION, DEVELOPMENT, CERTIFICATE RENEWAL AND LICENSURE FROM THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO THE SAID COMMISSION, TO PROHIBIT THE COMMISSION FROM ISSUING TEMPORARY TEACHER CERTIFICATION AFTER JULY 1, 1997, AND TO AUTHORIZE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THE COMMISSION TO EXPEND FUNDS FOR REQUIRED COURSEWORK AND/OR STAFF DEVELOPMENT FOR PERSONS HOLDING TEMPORARY CERTIFICATION; TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-9-9 AND 37-9-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO TRANSFER THE RULEMAKING AUTHORITY OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION REGARDING THE ISSUANCE OF TEACHERS' CERTIFICATES AND NATIONAL TEACHER EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS TO THE SAID COMMISSION ON PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS' STANDARDS AND PRACTICES; TO AMEND SECTION 37-17-8, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO TRANSFER THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR APPROVING IN-SERVICE STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLANS FROM THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO THE COMMISSION ON PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS' STANDARDS AND PRACTICES; TO AMEND SECTION 37-19-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO ISSUE TEMPORARY TEACHER CERTIFICATES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-3-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-3-2. (1) There is hereby established * * * the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices, hereinafter "commission." It shall be the purpose and duty of the commission to make * * * standards for the certification and continuing professional development of those who teach or perform tasks of an educational nature in the public schools of Mississippi. The Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices shall consist of seventeen (17) members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The commission shall consist of the following members:
(a) Nine (9) persons employed as teachers. At least two (2) shall be engaged in classroom teaching assigned within Grades pre-kindergarten through 4; at least two (2) shall be engaged in classroom teaching assigned within Grades 5 through 9; at least two (2) shall be engaged in classroom teaching assigned within Grades 10 through 12; at least one (1) shall be a teacher not assigned specifically to the classroom, such as a speech therapist, librarian or guidance counselor; and at least one (1) shall be a teacher assigned to a vocational-technical school.
(b) Four (4) persons employed as members of the faculty or administration in an approved teacher preparation program.
(c) Two (2) persons employed as administrators. One (1) shall be an elementary school administrator; the other shall be a secondary school administrator.
(d) Two (2) representatives of the public. These representatives shall not be members of a local school board, nor shall they now be, or ever in the past have been, employed as a teacher or administrator or in a professional position in any institution of postsecondary education.
Except for those members appointed as representatives of the public, members shall have been employed as teachers or administrators, or as faculty in an approved teacher preparation program, for a period of five (5) years prior to appointment and actively employed in such capacity for the two (2) years immediately prior to appointment, provided that one (1) of the teacher members may be exempted from this time requirement.
All members of the commission shall be residents of this state. The number of professional educator members from any single school district, when compared to the total number of professional educator members on the commission, shall not exceed the ratio of that school district's professional educators to the total number of professional educators employed in all school districts in this state. Not more than one (1) member of the commission may be appointed from the same college or university campus. The Governor shall attempt to achieve appropriate geographical, racial and sexual representation in appointments to the commission.
Before filling any designated teacher position on the commission, the Governor shall invite nominations from teachers' organizations and certificated teachers in this state. In addition, one (1) nomination may be submitted to fill a particular vacancy or expiring term if supported by a petition signed by one hundred (100) persons holding valid certificates to teach in the schools of this state.
Nominations to fill a vacancy should be submitted within sixty (60) days after the vacancy occurs. Nominations to fill an expiring term should be submitted at least thirty (30) days before the expiration of such term. The Governor shall appoint teacher members from among the nominations submitted pursuant to this subsection, unless (a) no timely nominations are received; or (b) the nominations received do not include a sufficient number of qualified candidates, in which case the Governor may appoint any qualified person. A person nominated shall remain eligible for appointment for one (1) year from the date his or her nomination is submitted, unless the nomination is withdrawn. Nominations may be withdrawn by the persons or organizations that made them, in the same manner in which they were made.
The State Superintendent of Education may appoint one (1) representative to serve as ex officio participant without vote in proceedings of the commission.
The term of office for members of the commission shall be three (3) years, except that the initial appointments shall be: five (5) members for one (1) year; six (6) members for two (2) years; and six (6) members for three (3) years, to be designated by the Governor at the time of appointment. No person shall be appointed by the Governor to serve more than two (2) full terms. Service on the commission for a term of two (2) years or more resulting from an initial appointment or an appointment for the remainder of an unexpired term shall be counted as a full term.
Any member of the commission who through change of employment status or residence, or for other reasons, no longer meets the criteria for the position to which he or she was appointed shall no longer be eligible to serve in that position, and the position shall become vacant sixty (60) days following the member's change in circumstances. The Governor may remove any member from the commission for ineligibility, misconduct or malfeasance in office, incapacity, or neglect of duty, but for no other reason.
Vacancies shall be filled for an unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointments.
All members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of commission business, and mileage as authorized in Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.
A member of the commission who is an employee of this state or any of its political subdivisions, including a school district, shall be permitted to attend commission meetings and perform other commission business without loss of income or other benefits. A member of the commission who is not an employee of this state or any of its political subdivisions, and who loses income or benefits as a result of time spent on commission business shall receive the uniform per diem compensation authorized in Section 25-3-69, Mississippi Code of 1972.
A state agency or any political subdivision of this state, including a school district, required to employ a substitute for a member of the commission who is absent from his or her employment while performing commission business, shall be reimbursed from the State Treasury for the actual amount of any costs so incurred.
The Governor shall designate one (1) member of the commission to serve as chairperson until the first regular meeting of the commission, at which time the commission shall, by a majority vote of its members, elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson from among said membership. Thereafter, the chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be elected at the last regular meeting of each calendar year, or as soon thereafter as practicable. They shall hold office for a one-year term and may be reelected up to two (2) times. No member may serve as chairperson or vice-chairperson for more than three (3) consecutive years. The chairperson and vice-chairperson may be removed from office at any time by a majority of the commission's members, in which event the vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original selection.
The chairperson shall be the presiding officer at meetings of the commission and shall be an ex officio member of all committees established within the commission. In the absence of the chairperson, or if he or she is unable to act, the vice-chairperson shall have the powers and perform the duties of the chairperson. The chairperson and vice-chairperson shall have such powers and duties as may be necessary for the performance of the functions of their offices as the commission shall determine.
If both the chairperson and vice-chairperson are absent from or unable to act at a meeting, the commission shall elect for that meeting a chairperson pro tempore.
The commission by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of its members shall employ an executive director who shall perform and discharge under the direction and control of the commission those duties and responsibilities vested in the commission and delegated to the executive director by the commission. The executive director may be dismissed by a majority vote of the members. The commission may employ a general counsel approved by the Attorney General who shall serve at the discretion of the commission.
The executive director, with the approval of the commission, may employ such additional professional and clerical personnel as may be necessary to carry out his duties and responsibilities, subject to the rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board.
The commission shall hold regular meetings at least once each month, in no fewer than ten (10) months each year, and shall hold such other special meetings as may be necessary. The commission's headquarters shall be in Jackson, Mississippi; meetings shall be held primarily in Jackson, Mississippi, but may be held at any place in this state designated by the commission. The chairperson may call a special meeting of the commission at any time and shall call a special meeting upon the written request of seven (7) or more members of the commission. Members shall be mailed written notice of the time and place of all regular meetings at least fourteen (14) days prior to each such meeting; they shall be mailed written notice of the time, place and purpose of all special meetings at least seven (7) days prior to each such meeting whenever practicable.
The presence of a majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business. All meetings of the commission shall be open and public, unless the commission calls for an executive session and publicly sets forth a written statement of reasons for such session. Unofficial minutes of each commission meeting shall be prepared and mailed to each member of the commission at least fourteen (14) days prior to the next regular meeting. An agenda shall be prepared for each meeting by or at the direction of the chairperson. Members shall be mailed the agenda for each regular meeting at least seven (7) days prior to each such meeting; they shall be mailed the agenda for each special meeting at least three (3) days prior to each such meeting whenever practicable. The commission shall have an official seal, which shall be judicially noticed.
Written and oral presentations may be made to the commission in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commission. These regulations shall be made available to any interested person.
No member of the commission shall participate in any matter before the commission in which he has a pecuniary interest, personal bias or other conflict of interest.
* * *
(2) It shall be the duty of the commission to:
(a) Set standards and criteria * * * for all public teacher education programs in the state;
(b) * * * Approve or disapprove * * * each public teacher education program in the state;
(c) Establish * * * standards for initial teacher certification in all fields;
(d) Establish * * * standards for the renewal of teacher certificates in all fields;
(e) Review and evaluate objective measures of teacher performance, such as test scores, which may form part of the certification process, and to make recommendations for their use;
(f) Review all existing requirements for certification;
(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;
(i) Hold hearings concerning standards for teachers' and administrators' education and certification * * *;
(j) Hire expert consultants * * *;
(k) Set up ad hoc committees to advise on specific areas; and
(l) Perform such other functions as may fall within their general charge * * *.
(3) All controversies involving the issuance, revocation, suspension or any change whatsoever in the certification of an educator required to hold a certificate 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 certificate shall be by sworn affidavit filed with the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices. The decision thereon by the commission or its subcommittee shall be final * * *. * * *
(4) The * * * commission may deny an application for any teacher or administrator certificate for one or more of the following:
(a) Lack of qualifications which are prescribed by law or regulations adopted by the commission;
(b) Has a physical, emotional or mental disability that renders the applicant unfit to perform the duties authorized by the certificate, as certified by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist;
(c) Is actively addicted to or actively dependent on alcohol or other habit-forming drugs or is an habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, hallucinogens, or other drugs having similar effect, at the time of application for a certificate;
(d) Revocation of a certificate by another state;
(e) Committed fraud or deceit in securing or attempting to secure such certificate;
(f) Fails or refuses to furnish reasonable evidence of identification;
(g) 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) Has been convicted, has pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a sex offense as defined by federal or state law.
(5) The * * * commission may revoke or suspend any teacher or administrator certificate 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 certificate for one (1) school year as provided in Section 37-9-57, Mississippi Code of 1972;
(b) Obtaining a certificate 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 by another state when the applicant's Mississippi certificate was issued on the basis of reciprocity shall result in immediate suspension or revocation and shall continue until records in the prior state have been cleared;
(d) Has been convicted, has pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to a felony, as defined by federal or state law;
(e) 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) Knowingly and willfully committing any of the acts affecting validity of mandatory uniform test results as provided in Section 37-16-4(1), Mississippi Code of 1972.
(6)(a) Dismissal or suspension of a certified employee by a local school board pursuant to Section 37-9-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, may result in the suspension or revocation of a certificate 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 certificate. The surrender of such certificate may result in the commission recommending any of the above penalties without the necessity of a hearing. However, any such certificate which has voluntarily been surrendered by a certified employee may be reinstated by a unanimous vote of all members of the commission.
(7) Any person whose certificate has been suspended on any grounds except criminal grounds may apply for reinstatement of the certificate 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 certificate revoked on the criminal grounds may be reinstated upon petition to the commission filed after expiration of the sentence or parole or probationary period imposed upon conviction, whichever is shorter. The commission may require an applicant 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 applicant's fitness to perform the duties authorized by the certificate.
(8) Reporting procedures and hearing procedures for dealing with infractions under this section shall be promulgated by the commission * * *. The revocation or suspension of a certificate 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.
(9) A teacher or administrator entering the school system of Mississippi for the first time shall be granted a one-year provisional certificate which may be renewed for not more than two (2) additional one-year periods. A provisional certificate recipient, who has had no prior certification to teach in Mississippi or any other state, shall be paid a minimum salary in accordance with the salary scale provided in Section 37-19-7 and shall not receive minimum base pay increment increases as long as they possess provisional certification. The commission, in its discretion, may waive the provisional year certification requirements on a case-by-case basis for any person possessing prior teaching experience and other evidences of teaching abilities deemed sufficient by the commission. Persons who possess two (2) years of classroom experience as a teaching assistant or who have taught for one (1) year in an accredited private school may be exempted by the commission from any student teaching requirements otherwise mandated for provisional certification. Until June 30, 1997, the commission shall also be authorized to grant a temporary certification to business and professional personnel, to allow school districts to offer specialized or technical courses. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations to administer such temporary certification. The commission shall not grant temporary certification to any person after July 1, 1997. Local school districts and the commission are hereby authorized to expend funds to defray the cost of required coursework and/or staff development for teacher certification for any person teaching with temporary certification prior to July 1, 1997. As part of its duties, the commission shall oversee the management of this provisional year and shall establish rules and criteria for granting certification following this provisional period. These rules and criteria for teachers shall include, but shall not be limited to: (a) a basic skills examination that is suitable for determining whether the candidate has the mastery of reading, writing and mathematics skills a prospective schoolteacher reasonably should be expected to achieve; (b) an examination that can measure the candidate's mastery of a minimum amount of common or general knowledge in the cognitive teaching area in which the prospective teacher seeks certification; and (c) an observational instrument to be used to evaluate the on-the-job performance of a teacher during the provisional year of teaching. These rules and criteria for administrators shall include, but shall not be limited to: (a) a basic skills examination that is suitable for determining whether the candidate has the mastery of administrative practices, personnel management and financial management a prospective administrator should be expected to achieve; (b) an examination that can measure the candidate's mastery of a minimum amount of common or general knowledge in the cognitive teaching areas of English, mathematics and social studies; and (c) an observational instrument to be used to evaluate on-the-job performance of an administrator during the provisional year.
In order to allow a school district to offer specialized or technical courses, the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices may grant a one-year expert citizen-teacher certificate to local business or other professional personnel to teach in a public school or nonpublic school accredited by the state; or in order to utilize the expertise of local business or other professional personnel in a school district, a noncertified person may teach for a maximum of three (3) periods per teaching day in a public school or a nonpublic school accredited by the state. Such person shall submit to the commission a transcript or record of his education and experience which substantiates his preparation for the subject to be taught. Such person may begin teaching upon his employment by the local school board and certification by the commission. In no case shall any local school board hire noncertificated personnel as authorized under this paragraph in excess of five percent (5%) of the total number of certificated personnel in any single school. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations to administer the expert citizen-teacher certification.
In the event any school district meets Level 4 or 5 accreditation standards, the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices may, in its discretion, exempt such school district from any restrictions in this paragraph relating to the employment of noncertified teaching personnel.
(10) As part of the rules and criteria on provisional certification developed by the commission, there shall be established a procedure whereby each school or school district shall make reports to the commission concerning the performance of each teacher or administrator working in that school or district and holding provisional certification. These reports shall contain an evaluation of the on-the-job performance of the beginning (provisional) teacher or administrator and a recommendation concerning regular certification. Each report must be signed by the school administrator or supervisor who conducted a major part of the class observation and the principal or superintendent and approved by the local school board. There will be two (2) signatures on each report.
(11) Each district shall develop a plan to provide in-service training for beginning teachers. This plan shall include means of addressing needs for improvement that are determined through the evaluation of on-the-job performance. Cooperative and third-party arrangements may be used in these plans. Each district shall have a plan approved by the commission and in effect by school year 1997-1998. * * *
(12) The commission shall carefully monitor the administration of this provisional teachers and administrators program. The commission shall establish a program evaluation unit to monitor the administration of this provisional teachers and administrators program to conduct validation studies and to gather data on deficiencies found in prospective teachers and administrators which might indicate weaknesses in their preparation.
(13) As part of the rules and criteria for the renewal of teacher certificates in all fields, every certified teacher shall:
(a) Be required to successfully complete the prescribed in-service training staff development plan approved by the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices as provided in Section 37-17-8, Mississippi Code of 1972. This plan shall include means of addressing needs for improvement as determined through the evaluation of on-the-job performance. The commission may request school districts to provide in-service training designed to ensure that phonics is taught within the context of reading and writing; or
(b) Complete coursework for credit prescribed by the commission at an accredited college or university; or
(c) Programs and curriculum developed by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to instruct teachers in student dropout prevention techniques and the latest nontraditional instructional approaches, including meeting individual needs of students through the following nontraditional modes of instruction: integrated, holistic curriculum; whole-language instruction; collaborative learning; peer tutoring; values development and clarification; use of rich science and social studies resources; mathematics manipulatives; discovery learning; computer-based technology; video technology and other technology; and other means for every school-age child in the state; or
(d) A combination of (a), (b) and (c) as determined by the commission.
(14) The commission shall develop * * * a plan for implementing a program to encourage and reward financially professional development in teachers, school administrators and other certified school personnel. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, criteria to guide participants in planning their professional development; standards of balance, breadth and vigorousness for such plans; criteria for their evaluation and approval; and procedures for administering the programs.
(15) The Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices may adopt rules and criteria for a Professional Development Program based upon the plan presented * * *. Once such program is implemented, the commission shall be responsible for reviewing and approving professional development plans, monitoring compliance with the plans as approved, approving amendments and revisions to approved plans, certifying acceptable activities, and certifying completion of a one-year segment, and authorizing the pay increment provided for by law.
(16) All such programs, rules, regulations, standards and criteria recommended or authorized by the commission shall become effective * * * as designated by appropriate orders entered upon the minutes thereof.
(17) The granting of a certificate shall not be deemed a property right nor a guarantee of employment in any public school district. A certificate is a privilege license indicating 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.
(18) It is not the intent of the Legislature under this section to repeal by implication Section 37-9-9 or 37-9-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide for rules and regulations governing the issuance of teachers' certificates and the establishment of minimum test scores by the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices.
(19) An appeal from the action of the commission in denying an application, revoking or suspending a certificate 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 commission 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 commission, and the filing of a bond in the sum of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) conditioned that if the action of the commission be affirmed by the chancery court, the applicant or certificate holder shall pay the costs of the appeal and the action of the chancery court.
(20) Every certified administrator who has applied for employment as a principal in a public school district shall have a current evaluation performed by the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices within the preceding fifteen (15) months, utilizing an appropriate screening process, on file with the local school board. No such administrator shall be eligible for employment by such school board without such current evaluation. The results of the said current evaluation shall be a public record subject to the provisions of the Mississippi Public Records Act, Section 25-61-1 et seq.
(21) Beginning with the 1997-1998 school year, individuals seeking school administrator certification shall successfully complete a training program and an assessment process prescribed by the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices. Individuals who hold administrator certification before the implementation of the commission's assessment process, but who have not practiced as a school administrator, shall successfully demonstrate competency in this assessment process.
(22) In addition to the reasons specified in subsection (8) of this section, the commission 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 commission 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 2. Section 37-9-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-9. (1) The Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices is authorized, empowered and directed to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing the issuance of all teachers' certificates and to administer said rules and regulations. The rules and regulations adopted by the commission under the said statutes shall remain in full force and effect until changed in the manner provided by law. The rules and regulations adopted by the commission shall not be changed without giving a minimum notice of one (1) year to all holders of teaching certificates affected by such change. No license or certificate to teach in the public schools of this state which is valid as of July 1, 1954, shall be invalidated hereby, but all such licenses and certificates shall remain valid and in effect during the time and for the purpose for which they were originally issued.
(2) No teacher shall experience a reduction in salary for the purpose of serving the special teaching needs of their public school district. All teachers teaching in areas of need as requested by their school district shall receive a salary in an amount commensurate with their highest level of certification.
SECTION 3. Section 37-9-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-11. The Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices is authorized and directed to require tests such as the common and teaching areas of the National Teacher Examination or an examination of achievement as one of the requirements for the issuance of public school professional certificates issued after January 1, 1972, to any person applying for the first time for a professional certificate.
Scores on said test or tests shall be made a part of the record of the applicant and maintained in the files of the commission.
The commission is further authorized at its discretion to make determinations of minimum scores required of a person applying for the first time for a professional certificate.
The commission shall, at its discretion, determine conditions that would prevail should a person desire to take said test or tests more than once.
SECTION 4. Section 37-17-8, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-17-8. (1) The Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices shall * * * establish criteria for comprehensive in-service staff development plans. These criteria shall: (a) include, but not be limited to, formula and guidelines for allocating state funds for in-service training to local school districts which have an approved plan; (b) provide that such funds may not be allocated to local school districts which do not have approved plans; and (c) require that a certain portion of the funds allocated pursuant to an approved plan be used exclusively for the purpose of providing staff development training for beginning teachers within that local school district and for no other purpose. The commission shall each year make recommendations to the Legislature concerning the amount of funds which shall be appropriated for this purpose.
(2) Beginning in school year 1984-1985, and each school year thereafter, every school district shall submit to the commission * * * for its approval a comprehensive in-service training staff development plan to be used in that school district. Before the plan is submitted to the commission, the plan shall have been prepared by a district committee appointed by the district superintendent and consisting of teachers, administrators, school board members, and lay people, and it shall have been approved by the district superintendent.
(3) In the event any school district meets Level 4 or 5 accreditation standards, the commission may, in its discretion, exempt such school district from the provisions of this section.
SECTION 5. Section 37-19-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-19-9. No teacher holding a certificate of less than "A" classification shall be eligible to teach in the public schools of this state; in setting such standards, the Commission on Professional Educators' Standards and Practices may designate certificates of vocational and technical teachers which will be considered as equivalent to Class A or AA certificates for the purpose of the scale as set forth in Section 37-19-7, and for the purpose of the experience increases provided for in Section 37-19-7. * * *
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.