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Sponsors: Senator Gregory
Document Path: l:\council\bills\gjk\20472sd03.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 3863
Introduced in the Senate on April 3, 2003
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Education
Summary: Neighborhood and Community Schools Act
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4/3/2003 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-4 4/3/2003 Senate Referred to Committee on Education SJ-4
View the latest legislative information at the LPITS web site
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA NEIGHBORHOOD AND COMMUNITY SCHOOLS ACT" INCLUDING PROVISIONS TO AMEND CHAPTER 23, TITLE 59, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 2 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR APPLICABLE STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS, WHICH APPLY TO THE CONSTRUCTION, IMPROVEMENT, OR RENOVATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND PROPERTY AND TO PROVIDE THAT SCHOOL BUILDING STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS MAY NOT HAVE ANY REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO MINIMUM LOT OR PARCEL SIZE; TO REPEAL ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23 OF TITLE 59 RELATING TO SCHOOL BUILDING CODES AND INSPECTIONS, TO ADD ARTICLE 5 TO CHAPTER 23, TITLE 59 SO AS TO REQUIRE THAT BEGINNING JULY 1, 2004, A PLAN FOR A NEW EDUCATIONAL FACILITY MUST BE A PLAN FOR A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL, TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS, TO PROVIDE THAT A SCHOOL THAT DOES NOT MEET THE DEFINITION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL SHALL SUBDIVIDE INTO SCHOOLS-WITHIN-A-SCHOOL.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act is known and may be cited as the "South Carolina Neighborhood and Community Schools Act of 2003".
SECTION 2. Chapter 23 of Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 59-23-210. All construction, improvement, and renovation of public school buildings and property on or after the effective date of this section, shall comply with the latest applicable standards and specifications set forth in the South Carolina School Facilities Planning and Construction Guide as published by the South Carolina Department of Education.
This guide must be reviewed and updated on an annual basis by a committee appointed by the South Carolina Department of Education. The committee shall consist of a minimum of two architects and one engineer (all registered in South Carolina and experienced in K-12 design), one K-12 school administrator, one representative of the K-12 construction industry and two representatives of the South Carolina Department of Education. In addition, the Governor, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Education and Public Works Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee shall each appoint one member of the committee.
Section 59-23-220. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State Superintendent of Education is authorized to grant a waiver from applicable school building standards and specifications for construction of a new public school building or for the conversion of existing commercial buildings into a public school facility. As part of the waiver request, districts must supply documentation of the justification for the waiver request.
(B) The authority granted the State Superintendent of Education under this section is superior to and supersedes provisions of applicable state school building standards and specification and the authority of a local building official or entity to disapprove the variances granted by the waiver.
Section 59-23-230. All construction, improvements, and renovation of public school buildings and property for which waivers have been granted pursuant to Section 59-23-220 must be inspected by the State Superintendent of Education or the superintendent's designee before occupancy for compliance with the applicable waivers and standards.
Section 59-23-240. The school building standards and specifications developed pursuant to this article may not have any requirements relating to minimum lot or parcel size."
SECTION 3. Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 4. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) South Carolina's schools are too large.
(2) Our current policies encourage the construction of massive, isolated schools that are inaccessible to the communities they serve.
(3) These remotely sited mega schools deprive students of a quality education and accelerate developmental sprawl into our rural areas.
(4) Rather than walking or biking to a neighborhood school, many students spend more time on a bus than they do with their families.
(5) One of the keys to improving education is a sense of community where teacher, student, and parent feel a sense of ownership in their school.
(6) Neighborhood schools are smaller schools that provide benefits of reduced discipline problems and crime, reduced truancy and gang participation, reduced dropout rates, improved teacher and student attitudes, improved student self-perception, student academic achievement equal to or superior to that of students at larger schools, and increased parental involvement. (7) Neighborhood schools can provide these benefits while not increasing administrative and construction costs.
SECTION 5. Chapter 23, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 59-23-510. As used in this article:
(1) 'Neighborhood school' means:
(a) an elementary school with a student population of not more than five hundred students;
(b) a middle school with a student population of not more than seven hundred students;
(c) a high school with a student population of not more than nine hundred students;
(d) a school serving kindergarten through eighth grade with a student population of not more than seven hundred students; (e) a school serving kindergarten through twelfth grade with a student population of not more than nine hundred students; or
(f) a school on a single campus that operates as a school-within-a-school, if each smaller unit located on the single campus meets the definition of a neighborhood school.
(2) 'School-within-a-school' means an operational program that uses flexible scheduling, team planning, and curricular and instructional innovation to organize groups of students with groups of teachers as smaller units, so as to operate functionally as a smaller school. Examples of this operational program include, but are not limited to:
(a) An organizational arrangement assigning both students and teachers to smaller units in which the students take some or all of their coursework with their fellow grouped students and from the teachers assigned to the smaller unit. A unit may be grouped together for one year or on a vertical, multiyear basis.
(b) An organizational arrangement similar to that described in subitem (a) with additional variations in instruction and curriculum. The smaller unit usually seeks to maintain a program different from that of the larger school or of other smaller units. It may be organized vertically, but is dependent upon the school principal for its existence, budget, and staff.
(c) A separate and autonomous smaller unit formally authorized by the district school board or superintendent of schools. The smaller unit plans and runs its own program, has its own staff and students, and receives its own separate budget. The smaller unit must negotiate the use of common space with the larger school and defer to the building principal on matters of safety and building operation.
Section 59-23-520. Beginning July 1, 2004, a plan for a new educational facility to be constructed within a school district must be a plan for a neighborhood school. This section does not apply to a plan for a new educational facility already under architectural contract on July 1, 2004.
Section 59-23-530. Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year, the State Department of Education shall adopt policies for a school that does not meet the definition of a neighborhood school to subdivide into schools-within-a-school, which must operate within existing resources.
Section 59-23-540. The State Department of Education shall comply with all applicable school building standards and specifications in the implementation of the provisions of this article."
SECTION 6. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor, except that Sections 2 and 3 take effect on July 1, 2003.
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