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TO PROVIDE THAT THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF THIS STATE MAY FURLOUGH DISTRICT PERSONNEL TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO AVOID A YEAR-END DEFICIT AND A REDUCTION IN FORCE AND TO PROVIDE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF A FURLOUGH PURSUANT TO THIS PROVISION; AND TO PROVIDE THAT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002-2003, ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS OF THIS STATE MAY TRANSFER REVENUE BETWEEN PROGRAMS TO ANY INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM WITH THE SAME FUNDING SOURCE AND ANY UNOBLIGATED INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM FUNDS MAY BE USED FOR OPERATIONAL PURPOSES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any other provision law and for the 2002-2003 fiscal year only, if state funds appropriated for a school district in this State are less than state funds appropriated for that school district in the preceding fiscal year, or if the General Assembly or the Budget and Control Board implements a midyear across-the-board budget reduction, school districts may institute employee furlough programs pursuant to the requirements of this act. Before any employees may be furloughed pursuant to this act, the chairman of the governing body of the school district must certify that all fund flexibility provided by the General Assembly has been utilized by the district and that the furlough is necessary to avoid a year-end deficit and a reduction in force. The certification must include a detailed report by the superintendent of the specific action taken by the district to avoid a year-end deficit. The certification and report must be in writing and delivered to the State Superintendent of Education and a copy must be forwarded to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The school district may furlough school district level employees for a period not to exceed five days. Any furlough must include all personnel employed by the school district regardless of classification or funding source. The district shall take all reasonable action necessary to provide for furlough days on in-service days and shall only provide for furlough days on instructional days if absolutely necessary. All school districts are exempt from the defined minimum plan in Section 59-1-420 to the extent absolutely necessary to carry out this provision.
During any furlough, affected employees shall be entitled to participate in the same benefits as otherwise available to them except for receiving their salaries. As to those benefits that require employer and employee contributions, including, but not limited to, contributions to the South Carolina Retirement System or the optional retirement program, the district will be responsible for making both employer and employee contributions if coverage would otherwise be interrupted; and as to those benefits which require only employee contributions, the employee remains solely responsible for making those contributions. Placement of an employee on furlough under this provision does not constitute a grievance or appeal under any employee grievance procedure. The district may allocate the employee's reduction in pay over the balance of the fiscal year for payroll purposes regardless of the pay period within which the furlough occurs.
This act shall not abrogate the terms of any contract between any school district and its employees.
SECTION 2. For fiscal year 2002-2003, all school districts and special schools of this State may transfer revenue between programs to any instructional program with the same funding source and any unobligated instructional program funds may be used for essential operational purposes.
SECTION 3. This joint resolution takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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