South Carolina General Assembly
123rd Session, 2019-2020

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Indicates New Matter

R115, S975

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senator Johnson
Document Path: l:\council\bills\cc\15696zw20.docx

Introduced in the Senate on January 14, 2020
Introduced in the House on January 21, 2020
Passed by the General Assembly on January 23, 2020
Governor's Action: February 3, 2020, Signed

Summary: Clarendon County School Districts 1 and 3

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   1/14/2020  Senate  Introduced, read first time, placed on local & 
                        uncontested calendar (Senate Journal-page 58)
   1/15/2020          Scrivener's error corrected
   1/15/2020  Senate  Read second time (Senate Journal-page 8)
   1/16/2020  Senate  Read third time and sent to House 
                        (Senate Journal-page 20)
   1/21/2020  House   Introduced, read first time, placed on calendar without 
                        reference (House Journal-page 70)
   1/22/2020  House   Read second time (House Journal-page 28)
   1/22/2020  House   Roll call Yeas-108  Nays-3 (House Journal-page 29)
   1/23/2020  House   Read third time and enrolled (House Journal-page 49)
   1/29/2020          Ratified R  115 (Senate Journal-page 35)
    2/3/2020          Signed By Governor
    2/5/2020          Effective date  See Act

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

1/14/2020
1/14/2020-A
1/15/2020
1/21/2020

(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)

NOTE: THIS IS A TEMPORARY VERSION. THIS DOCUMENT WILL REMAIN IN THIS VERSION UNTIL FINAL APPROVAL BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.

(R115, S975)

AN ACT TO CONSOLIDATE CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 AND EAST CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 (CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3) INTO ONE SCHOOL DISTRICT TO BE KNOWN AS CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4; TO ABOLISH CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 AND CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 ON JULY 1, 2021; TO PROVIDE THAT CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4 MUST BE GOVERNED BY A BOARD OF TRUSTEES CONSISTING OF SEVEN MEMBERS, WHICH INITIALLY MUST BE APPOINTED BY THE CLARENDON COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION, AND BEGINNING IN 2022, SIX MEMBERS MUST BE ELECTED FROM A DEFINED SINGLE-MEMBER ELECTION DISTRICT AND ONE MEMBER MUST BE ELECTED FROM THE COMBINED GEOGRAPHIC AREA OF THE FORMER CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 AND CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4 BOARD OF TRUSTEES MUST BE ELECTED IN NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS CONDUCTED AT THE SAME TIME AS THE 2022 GENERAL ELECTION AND EVERY FOUR YEARS THEREAFTER, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THIS ACT TO STAGGER THE MEMBERS' TERMS; TO ESTABLISH THE BOARD'S POWERS, DUTIES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES; TO PROVIDE THAT THE DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT IS THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF THE DISTRICT AND IS RESPONSIBLE TO THE BOARD FOR THE PROPER ADMINISTRATION OF ALL AFFAIRS OF THE DISTRICT AND SUBJECT TO ALL OTHER PROVISIONS OF LAW RELATING TO HIS DUTIES; TO INCLUDE INTERIM MILLAGE PROVISIONS FOR YEARS 2021 AND 2022, AND TO PROVIDE THAT BEGINNING IN 2023, CLARENDON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4 SHALL HAVE TOTAL FISCAL AUTONOMY.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

Clarendon County School Districts Nos. 1 and 3 consolidated

SECTION    1.    (A)    Notwithstanding the provisions of Act 593 of 1986, Act 277 of 1989, or of subsequent acts of the General Assembly amending these acts, or of any other provision of law:

(1)    on the effective date of this act, Clarendon County School District No. 1 and Clarendon County School District No. 3 (the two present school districts) shall commence all prudent and essential preparations necessary to achieve an efficient and well-organized consolidation of the two districts;

(2)    effective July 1, 2021, Clarendon County School District No. 1 and Clarendon County School District No. 3 must be abolished. The powers and duties of the two present school districts' respective boards of trustees must be devolved on the board of trustees of the consolidated school district to be known as Clarendon County School District No. 4; and

(3)    the first audit report that Clarendon County School District No. 4 is required to provide to the State Department of Education pursuant to Section 59-17-100 must be submitted to the department on or before December 1, 2021.

(B)    In order to facilitate the efficient consolidation of the two present school districts, the members of the districts' respective boards of trustees and their superintendents, administrators, and personnel shall cooperate fully with the Clarendon County Legislative Delegation and delegation staff, the initial seven member appointed board of trustees for Clarendon County School District No. 4, and the South Carolina Department of Education officials assisting with the consolidation. In addition, after January 13, 2020, the two present school districts may not:

(1)    create new full-time or part-time district-level positions;

(2)    approve, award, or authorize any salary increases, raises, bonuses, or severance pay or separation incentives of any type;

(3)    create or incur new bonded indebtedness;

(4)    approve requests for out-of-state travel or requests for reimbursement for out-of-state travel; or

(5)    make any significant district purchases unless exigent circumstances exist that justify the purchase and the Clarendon County Legislative Delegation has approved the purchase. For purposes of this item, "significant district purchase" means any district purchase in excess of five thousand dollars.

(C)    Any current district-level administrator for either of the two present school districts whose position will be eliminated due to the creation of an equivalent position in the consolidated district has priority consideration for the equivalent position if the administrator remains in his role at the time of hiring for the consolidated district and desires to be considered for the new position. Priority consideration is limited to review of an application for employment, or an interview; however, priority consideration does not mean that a position with the consolidated district must be offered. For purposes of this subsection, "current" means as of the effective date of this act, and "district level administrator" includes superintendents, chief academic officers, associate superintendents, assistant superintendents, and district directors. Position equivalency must be determined based on the position's title and responsibilities.

Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees, initial appointments, election

SECTION    2.    (A)    Clarendon County School District No. 4 must be governed by a board of trustees of seven members to be appointed initially by a majority of the Clarendon County Legislative Delegation. The seven members initially appointed by the legislative delegation after the effective date of this act must be qualified electors of either Clarendon County School District No. 1 or Clarendon County School District No. 3, and these appointed members shall serve on the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees until their successors are elected in school district elections conducted at the same time as the 2022 General Election and qualify.

(B)    Beginning in 2022, members of the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees must be elected in nonpartisan elections to be conducted at the same time as the general election and every four years thereafter, except as provided in this act to stagger the members' terms. Also beginning in 2022, six members of the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees must be elected from defined single-member election districts to be established in subsequent legislation after the release of pertinent demographic data obtained in the 2020 decennial census, but prior to the opening of the filing period for the 2022 school district elections. Each of these six members must be a qualified elector of the election district from which he is elected. A seventh member must be elected at large by the qualified electors residing in Clarendon County School District No. 4, which consists of the combined geographic area encompassed by the two present school districts as they existed on the effective date of this act. The seventh member also must be a qualified elector of Clarendon County School District No. 4. Members of the consolidated school district board of trustees must be elected for four-year terms and until their successors are elected and qualify; however, in order to stagger the members' terms, of the seven trustees elected in 2022, the trustees elected from election districts two, four, and six shall serve initial two-year terms, and the successors to these members must be elected in school district elections to be conducted at the same time as the 2024 General Election. The trustees elected in the 2024 school district elections and their successors shall serve full four-year terms and until their successors are elected and qualify. The members elected in 2022 from election districts one, three, five, and at-large seat seven shall serve full four-year terms to expire in November 2026, when their successors elected at the 2026 school district elections qualify and take office. In the event of a vacancy on the board occurring for any reason other than the expiration of a term, the vacancy must be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term through appointment by the county legislative delegation.

(C)    All persons desiring to qualify as a candidate for the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees shall file written notice of candidacy with the Clarendon County Board of Voter Registration and Elections on forms furnished by the board. The filing period shall open at 12:00 p.m. on August first or, if August first falls on Saturday or Sunday, then 12:00 p.m. on the following Monday and shall run until 12:00 p.m. on August fifteenth or, if August fifteenth falls on Saturday or Sunday, no later than 12:00 p.m. on the following Monday. This notice of candidacy must be a sworn statement and shall include the candidate's name, age, election district in which he resides and from which he seeks election, voting precinct, period of residence in the county and election district, and other information that the board requires. The Clarendon County Board of Voter Registration and Elections shall conduct and supervise the elections for members of the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees in the manner governed by the election laws of this State, mutatis mutandis. The board shall prepare the necessary ballots, appoint managers for the voting precincts, and do all things necessary to carry out the elections, including the counting of ballots and declaring the results. The commission shall publish notices of the elections pursuant to Section 7-13-35. The results of the elections must be determined by the nonpartisan plurality method contained in Section 5-15-61. The members of the consolidated school district elected in these nonpartisan elections shall take office one week following certification of their election pursuant to Section 59-19-315.

Board of Trustees' duties, powers, and responsibilities

SECTION    3.    (A)    The members of the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees shall elect a chairman and other officers they consider necessary for terms that are coterminous with their appointed or elected terms of office.

(B)    The Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees has the power, duty, and responsibility provided by law including to:

(1)    employ a superintendent as the chief executive officer;

(2)    establish other administrative departments upon the recommendation of the superintendent;

(3)    adopt the annual school district budget;

(4)    inquire into the conduct of an office, department, or agency of the school district;

(5)    adopt and modify attendance zones of schools within the school district;

(6)    provide for an independent annual audit of the books and business affairs of the school district and for a general survey of school district business;

(7)    cooperate to establish and maintain a central purchasing system for the purchase of contractual services, equipment, and supplies;

(8)    cooperate to establish and maintain educational consortia;

(9)    be responsible for policymaking action and the review of regulations established to put these policies into operation; and

(10)    set by majority vote of the board a salary that each member shall receive for attending meetings of the board, which may not exceed four hundred fifty dollars per month.

School district superintendent, duties and responsibilities

SECTION    4.    The district superintendent is the chief operating officer of the district and is responsible to the board for the proper administration of all affairs of the district and subject to all other provisions of law relating to his duties. He shall:

(1)    appoint and, when necessary for the good of the district, remove an appointed officer or employee of the district and fix the salaries of these officers and employees, unless otherwise provided by law and except as he may authorize the head of a department or office to appoint and remove subordinates in the department or office;

(2)    prepare the budget annually, submit it to the board, and be responsible for its administration after adoption;

(3)    prepare and submit to the board at the end of each fiscal year a complete annual report on the finances and administrative activities of the board for the preceding year and make other financial reports from time to time that may be required by the board or by law;

(4)    keep the board advised of the financial condition and future needs of the district and make recommendations that seem desirable;

(5)    perform other duties prescribed by law or required of him by the board not inconsistent with the provisions of law; and

(6)    centralize all administrative functions including, but not limited to, human resources, accounting, procurement, transportation, school bus services, and maintenance.

Preparation of annual budget

SECTION    5.    (A)(1)    For purposes of determining the 2021 property tax millage levy of Clarendon County School District No. 4 upon its creation, the millage levy for the district must be determined and calculated by the Department of Revenue based on the 2020 levy of the two present school districts and the value of a mill in each district. Thereafter, the millage levy for the year 2022 must be the millage levy for the previous year. To the allowed millage levy for 2021 and 2022 may be added any millage determined by the Department of Revenue necessary to comply with educational mandates imposed by federal or state law.

(2)    The provisions of this subsection apply for school millages set for years ending in 2022.

(B)    Beginning in 2023, Clarendon County School District No. 4 is vested with total fiscal autonomy. In order to obtain funds for school purposes the board of trustees is authorized to impose an annual tax levy, exclusive of any millage imposed for bond debt service. Upon certification by the board of trustees to the county auditor of the tax levy to be imposed, the auditor shall levy and the county treasurer shall collect the millage so certified upon all taxable property in the district. The consolidated school district may raise its millage by no more than two mills over that levied for the previous year, in addition to any millage needed to adjust for the EFA inflation factor and sufficient to meet the requirements of Section 59-21-1030. An increase above this two mills for operations may be levied only after a majority of the registered electors of the district vote in favor of the millage increase in a referendum called by the district school board and conducted by the county election commission. If the school district calls for the referendum provided for in this subsection to be held at any time other than at the general election conducted pursuant to Section 7-13-10, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, then the school district shall pay the cost of the referendum. To the extent the provisions of this section relating to increases in school millages conflict with the provisions of Section 6-1-320, relating to the millage rate increase limitation, the provisions of Section 6-1-320 control.

Assets and liabilities of two present school districts transferred to the consolidated district on July 1, 2021

SECTION    6.    (A)(1)    On July 1, 2021, the assets and liabilities of Clarendon County School District No. 1 and Clarendon County School District No. 3 must be transferred to the Clarendon County School District No. 4. The records and employees of the two present school districts must be transferred to and, if applicable, assumed by the consolidated school district.

(2)    Any funds under paragraph 1.88(A), Part I(B) of Act 91 of 2019 to support school district consolidation and related purposes in certain specified school districts, which have been distributed to or which are to be made available to the two present school districts must be transferred to or made available to Clarendon County School District No. 4 to be used for the same purposes.

(B)    The constitutional debt limitation on the issuance of general obligation bonds applicable to Clarendon County School District No. 4 is to be computed according to the law of this State and based on the assessed value of all taxable property in the district minus that bonded indebtedness of each of the present school districts made a part of the district that was includable against the constitutional debt limit of the present school districts.

(C)    During the transition period, beginning on the effective date of this act to July 1, 2021, no new general obligation bonds may be issued against the constitutional debt limitation of the two present school districts, except in the case of an emergency. If new general obligation bonds are issued, then the board of trustees of the issuing school district must adopt an ordinance declaring the emergency and specifying the necessity of the issue.

Two present school districts abolished on July 1, 2021

SECTION    7.    (A)    Clarendon County School District No. 1 and Clarendon County School District No. 3 are abolished on July 1, 2021, at which time Clarendon County School District No. 4 must be established as provided in this act. The terms of all members of the boards of trustees of the two present school districts of the county will expire on this date. However, the members of the consolidated school district board of trustees appointed after the effective date of this act shall take office on the date they take the oath of office. From this date and until July 1, 2021, the boards shall organize, begin planning for the changeover to the consolidated district, enter into contracts to effectuate these purposes, and perform other related matters, except that the responsibility and authority to manage the schools of the two present school districts rests solely with the individual boards for each of the two present school districts until July 1, 2021, and the appointed consolidated board of trustees may not interfere with this authority.

(B)    Funding for the activities of the appointed consolidated board of trustees, from the date the members assume office until July 1, 2021, must be paid from funds provided to Clarendon County School District No. 4 by the State Department of Education for this purpose.

(C)(1)    After the effective date of this act, a member of one of the two present school districts' governing boards may:

(a)    be appointed to the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees; or

(b)    seek election to the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees in 2022.

(2)    If a member of one of the present boards is either appointed or elected to the Clarendon County School District No. 4 Board of Trustees pursuant to item (1):

(a)    prior to assuming his new duties on the consolidated school district board of trustees, he must first resign as a member of the present board; and

(b)    notwithstanding another provision of law, the vacancy on the present board must be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term by appointment of the county legislative delegation.

All inconsistent local acts repealed on July 1, 2021

SECTION    8.    All local acts concerning Clarendon County School District No. 1 and Clarendon County School District No. 3 inconsistent with the provisions of this act are repealed as of July 1, 2021, it being the intent of the General Assembly to have this act and the general law be the only provisions of law governing the school district of the county.

Severability

SECTION    9.    If any provision of this act for any reason is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, that holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act. The General Assembly declares that it would have passed this act and each and every provision in it, irrespective of the fact that any one or more provisions of it may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.

Time effective

SECTION    10.    This act takes effect thirty days after approval by the Governor.

Ratified the 29th day of January, 2020.

Approved the 3rd day of February, 2020. -- L.

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This web page was last updated on February 5, 2020 at 12:10 PM