Joint School Board Consolidation Meeting
Hampton School District 1 and 2 met at Lake Warren on June 5, 2019, for the purpose of discussing legal and contractual matters that pertain to district consolidation. The two boards discussed proviso 1.88 that addresses school district consolidation. A decision has not been reached on consolidation at this time. The proviso mandates that a preliminary plan and timeline for pursing consolidation be submitted on or before August 1, 2019, to be eligible for capital improvements. Both districts were encouraged by our delegation and State Superintendent, Molly Spearman, to consider having one school district in Hampton County in order to be eligible for the capital improvement funds provided in the proviso. The districts are planning to meet again on July 8, 2019.
Trustees for both districts will allow public input on the consolidation at their next board meeting. Hampton School District 1 will meet June 24, 2019, at North District Middle School in the Multipurpose Room with the executive session at 6:00 p.m. and the regular meeting at 7:00 p.m.
1.88. (SDE: School Districts Capital Improvement) The funds appropriated for school district capital improvements in Proviso 112.1, shall be prioritized by the Department of Education pursuant to subsections (A) and (B).
(A) Twenty-five percent of the funds shall be made available first to a local school district or districts with an average daily membership that is less than one thousand five hundred, based on the most recent student count received by the department, and that is located within a county ranked as Tier IV pursuant to Section 12-6-3360(B) for 2018 which chooses to consolidate with another school district located in the same county. The funds may be used to support costs directly related to the consolidation which shall include, but are not limited to, salary adjustments, facilities, debt mitigation, millage rate adjustments, transportation, technology and other factors for which the district demonstrates are necessary to complete consolidation. Furthermore, the department is eligible to carry forward these funds and use them for the same purpose. On or before August 1, the eligible districts must submit a preliminary plan and timeline for pursuing consolidation, including the use of the consolidation funds requested, to the Department of Education for review and approval. When the department has approved the final plan, the districts shall forward the plan to the local legislative delegation outlining the specific request that local legislation be enacted to effect the consolidation. The legislation may include, but is not limited to, composition of the consolidated board, transition procedures, and disposition and/or assumption of district assets and liabilities. Upon approval of a consolidation plan, the department shall make an initial allocation to the impacted districts and shall allocate remaining funds upon enactment of legislation formally consolidating the districts for the benefit of the consolidated district.
(B) Any funds not used for the purposes of assisting districts eligible in (A) shall be distributed by the department to eligible districts for the purpose of funding shared school facility construction and upgrades in districts with a poverty index of seventy percent or higher or an index of taxpayer ability less than .009. For the purpose of this provision, school facility means only facilities necessary for instructional and related supporting purposes including, but not limited to, classrooms, libraries, media centers, laboratories, cafeterias, physical education spaces, related interior and exterior facilities, and the conduit, wiring, and powering of hardware installations for classroom computers or for area network systems. Eligible school facility projects shall include and be prioritized as follows: construction of shared high school and career and technology education facilities with priority given to districts that submit a plan for a facility that serves multiple school districts with average daily membership counts of less than one thousand five hundred and then for the following purposes: (a) health and safety upgrades; (b) technology upgrades inside school facilities; (c) upgrades associated with career and technology education programs; and (d) deferred maintenance needs as described in the districts capital improvement plan. For purposes of this provision, school facilities shall not include unimproved real property, centralized district administration facilities, or other facilities, including those normally identified with interscholastic sports activities.
(i) The department shall develop and maintain an application process for school districts to request funding for qualified school projects and establish policies, procedures, and priorities for the making of grants pursuant to this provision. At least twice a year and upon receipt of applications pursuant to the application process adopted by the department, the department shall prioritize the eligible projects with the greatest need and shall submit a list of recommended grant awards to the State Board of Education. Grants shall be awarded upon an affirmative vote of the State Board.
(ii) The financial assistance provided to school districts pursuant to this provision must be used for the eligible school facility project. The department is responsible for establishing policies and procedures to ensure that funds are expended in a manner consistent with this provision.
(C) Following the close of the fiscal year, the department shall submit a report on the expenditure of funds pursuant to subsections (A) and (B) for the preceding year to the Governor, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee.