2006 Regular Session
By: Representative Lane, Watson
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-77, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE REPEALER ON THE MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR SABBATICAL PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-9-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-77. (1) There is established the Mississippi School Administrator Sabbatical Program which shall be available to licensed teachers employed in Mississippi school districts for not less than three (3) years, for the purpose of allowing such teachers to become local school district administrators under the conditions set forth in this section. The State Board of Education, in coordination with the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, shall develop guidelines for the program. Application shall be made to the State Department of Education for the Mississippi School Administrator Sabbatical Program by qualified teachers meeting the criteria for a department-approved administration program and who have been recommended by the local school board. Administration programs that are eligible for the administrator sabbatical program shall be limited to those that have been approved by the department by the January 1 preceding the date of admission to the program. Admission into the program shall authorize the applicant to take university course work and training leading to an administrator's license.
(2) The salaries of the teachers approved for participation in the administrator sabbatical program shall be paid by the employing school district from nonminimum education program funds. However, the State Department of Education shall reimburse the employing school districts for the cost of the salaries and paid fringe benefits of teachers participating in the administrator sabbatical program for one (1) contract year. Reimbursement shall be made in accordance with the then current minimum education program salary schedule under Section 37-19-7, except that the maximum amount of the reimbursement from state funds shall not exceed the minimum education program salary for a teacher holding a Class A license and having five (5) years' experience. The local school district shall be responsible for that portion of a participating teacher's salary attributable to the local supplement and for any portion of the teacher's salary that exceeds the maximum amount allowed for reimbursement from state funds as provided in this subsection, and the school board may not reduce the local supplement payable to that teacher. Any reimbursements made by the State Department of Education to local school districts under this section shall be subject to available appropriations and may be made only to school districts determined by the State Board of Education as being in need of administrators.
(3) Such teachers participating in the program on a full-time basis shall continue to receive teaching experience and shall receive the salary prescribed in Section 37-19-7, including the annual experience increments. Such participants shall be fully eligible to continue participation in the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Public School Employees Health Insurance Plan during the time they are in the program on a full-time basis.
(4) As a condition for participation in the School Administrator Sabbatical Program, such teachers shall agree to employment as administrators in the sponsoring school district for not less than five (5) years following completion of administrator licensure requirements. Any person failing to comply with this employment commitment in any required school year, unless the commitment is deferred as provided in subsection (5) of this section, shall immediately be in breach of contract and become liable to the State Department of Education for that amount of his salary and paid fringe benefits paid by the state while the teacher was on sabbatical, less twenty percent (20%) of the amount of his salary and paid fringe benefits paid by the state for each year that the person was employed as an administrator following completion of the administrator licensure requirements. In addition, the person shall become liable to the local school district for any portion of his salary and paid fringe benefits paid by the local school district while the teacher was on sabbatical that is attributable to the local salary supplement or is attributable to the amount that exceeds the maximum amount allowed for reimbursement from state funds as provided in subsection (2) of this section, less twenty percent (20%) of the amount of his salary and paid fringe benefits paid by the school district for each year that the person was employed as an administrator following completion of the administrator licensure requirements. Interest on the amount due shall accrue at the current Stafford Loan rate at the time the breach occurs. If the claim for repayment of such salary and fringe benefits is placed in the hands of an attorney for collection after default, then the obligor shall be liable for an additional amount equal to a reasonable attorney's fee.
(5) If there is not an administrator position immediately available in the sponsoring school district after a person has completed the administrator licensure requirements, or if the administrator position in the sponsoring school district in which the person is employed is no longer needed before the completion of the five-year employment commitment, the local school board shall defer any part of the employment commitment that has not been met until such time as an administrator position becomes available in the sponsoring school district. If such a deferral is made, the sponsoring school district shall employ the person as a teacher in the school district during the period of deferral, unless the person desires to be released from employment by the sponsoring school district and the district agrees to release the person from employment. If the sponsoring school district releases a person from employment, that person may be employed as an administrator in another school district in the state that is in need of administrators as determined by the State Board of Education, and that employment for the other school district shall be applied to any remaining portion of the five-year employment commitment required under this section. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a school district from not renewing the person's contract before the end of the five-year employment commitment in accordance with the School Employment Procedures Law (Section 37-9-101 et seq.). However, if the person is not employed as an administrator by another school district after being released by the sponsoring school district, or after his contract was not renewed by the sponsoring school district, he shall be liable for repayment of the amount of his salary and fringe benefits as provided in subsection (4) of this section.
(6) All funds received by the State Department of Education from the repayment of salary and fringe benefits paid by the state from program participants shall be deposited in the Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Fund.
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SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.