Senate File 360 - Enrolled




                                             SENATE FILE 360

                             AN ACT
 RELATING TO THE ACCREDITATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND NONPUBLIC
    SCHOOLS AND THE REORGANIZATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

    Section 1.  Section 256.11, subsection 10, paragraph b,
 subparagraph (5), Code 2009, is amended to read as follows:
    (5)  After visiting the school district or nonpublic
 school, the accreditation committee shall determine whether
 the accreditation standards have been met and shall make a
 report to the director, together with a recommendation whether
 the school district or nonpublic school shall remain
 accredited.  The accreditation committee shall report
 strengths and weaknesses, if any, for each standard and shall
 advise the school or school district of available resources
 and technical assistance to further enhance strengths and
 improve areas of weakness.  A school district or nonpublic
 school shall be provided with the opportunity to respond to
 the accreditation committee's report.  If the recommendation
 is that a school district or nonpublic school not remain
 accredited, the accreditation committee shall provide the
 school district or nonpublic school with a report that
 includes a list of all of the deficiencies, a plan prescribing
 the actions that must be taken to correct the deficiencies,
 and a deadline date for completion of the prescribed actions.
 The accreditation committee shall advise the school district
 or nonpublic school of available resources and technical
 assistance to improve areas of weakness.  The school district
 or nonpublic school shall be provided with the opportunity to
 respond to the accreditation committee's report.  The director
 shall review the accreditation committee's report and the
 response of the school district or nonpublic school and shall
 provide a report to the state board along with copies of the
 accreditation committee's report, the response to the
 accreditation committee's report, and other pertinent
 information.  At the request of the school district or
 nonpublic school, the school district or nonpublic school may
 appear before the state board and address the state board
 directly regarding any part of the plan specified in the
 report.  The state board may modify the plan.  During the
 period of time specified in the plan for its implementation by
 a school district or nonpublic school, the school district or
 school shall remain accredited.
    Sec. 2.  Section 256.11, subsections 11 and 12, Code 2009,
 are amended by striking the subsections and inserting in lieu
 thereof the following:
    11.  The accreditation committee shall revisit the school
 district or nonpublic school and shall determine whether the
 deficiencies in the standards have been corrected.
    a.  The accreditation team shall make a report and
 recommendation to the director and the state board.  The
 committee recommendation shall specify whether the school
 district or nonpublic school shall remain accredited.  For a
 school district, the committee report and recommendation shall
 also specify under what conditions the district may remain
 accredited.  The conditions may include but are not limited to
 providing temporary oversight authority, operational
 authority, or both oversight and operational authority to the
 director and the state board for some or all aspects of the
 school district in order to bring the school district into
 compliance with minimum standards.
    b.  The state board shall review the report and
 recommendation, may request additional information, and shall
 determine whether the deficiencies have been corrected.
    c.  If the deficiencies have not been corrected, and the
 conditional accreditation alternatives contained in the report
 are not mutually acceptable to the state board and the local
 board, the state board shall merge the territory of the school
 district with one or more contiguous school districts at the
 end of the school year.  The state board may place a district
 under receivership for the remainder of the school year.  The
 receivership shall be under the direct supervision and
 authority of the area education agency in which the district
 is located.  The decision of whether to merge the school
 district and require payment of tuition for the district's
 students or to place the district under receivership shall be
 based upon a determination by the state board of the best
 interests of the students, parents, residents of the
 community, teachers, administrators, and school district board
 members and upon the recommendations of the accreditation
 committee and the director.
    d.  In the case of a nonpublic school, if the deficiencies
 have not been corrected, the state board may declare a
 nonpublic school to be nonaccredited.  The removal of
 accreditation shall take effect on the date established by the
 resolution of the state board, which shall be no later than
 the end of the school year in which the nonpublic school is
 declared to be nonaccredited.
    12.  If the state board removes accreditation from a school
 district and merges the territory of the school district with
 one or more contiguous school districts, the district whose
 accreditation is removed ceases to exist as a school
 corporation on the effective date set by the state board for
 removal of accreditation.  Notwithstanding any other provision
 of law, the contiguous school districts receiving territory of
 the former school district whose accreditation was removed are
 not considered successor school corporations of the former
 district.
    a.  Division of assets and liabilities of the school
 district whose accreditation was removed shall be as provided
 in sections 275.29 through 275.31.
    (1)  If one or more of the contiguous school districts
 receiving assets and liabilities of the school district whose
 accreditation was removed utilizes the equalization levy, only
 that territory in the school district imposing the
 equalization levy that comprises territory of the former
 school district shall be taxed.
    (2)  Income surtax revenue and revenues generated by
 property taxes shall be distributed proportionately based on
 taxable value of the territory received by one or more school
 districts contiguous to the former school district whose
 accreditation was removed.
    (3)  Revenues that are based on student enrollment shall be
 distributed based on percentages of students of the school
 district whose accreditation was removed who now reside in
 territory received by one or more school districts contiguous
 to the school district whose accreditation was removed.
    b.  Prior to the effective date set by the state board for
 removal of accreditation, the school district whose
 accreditation is to be removed shall remain responsible for,
 and may retain such authority as is necessary to complete, all
 of the following:
    (1)  Execution of one or more quitclaim deeds, in
 fulfillment of the merger of territory received by one or more
 contiguous school districts from the former school district
 whose accreditation was removed.
    (2)  Preparation of and payment for a final audit of all
 the district's financial accounts.
    (3)  Preparation and certification of a final certified
 annual report to the department.
    c.  The provisions of section 275.57 apply when removal of
 accreditation from a school district and merger of its
 territory with a contiguous school district that is currently
 divided into director districts leads to the formation of new
 director districts.
    Sec. 3.  Section 275.53, Code 2009, is amended to read as
 follows:
    275.53  DISSOLUTION PROPOSAL.
    1.  The commission shall send a copy of its dissolution
 proposal or shall inform the board that it cannot agree upon a
 dissolution proposal not later than one year following the
 date of the organizational meeting of the commission.  The
 commission shall also send a copy of the dissolution proposal
 by registered mail to the boards of directors of all school
 districts to which area of the affected school district will
 be attached.  If the board of a district to which area of the
 affected school district will be attached objects to the
 attachment, within ten days following receipt of the
 dissolution proposal the board shall send its objections in
 writing to the commission.  The commission may consider the
 objections and may modify the dissolution proposal.  If the
 dissolution proposal is modified, the commission shall notify
 by registered mail the boards of directors of all school
 districts to which area of the affected school district will
 be attached.
    2.  Notifications required under subsection 1 shall be
 delivered using one of the following methods:
    a.  Mail bearing a United States postal service postmark.
    b.  Hand delivery.
    c.  Facsimile transmission.
    d.  Electronic delivery.
    3.  If the commission cannot agree upon a dissolution
 proposal prior to the expiration of its term, the board may
 appoint a new commission.
    Sec. 4.  Section 275.54, Code 2009, is amended to read as
 follows:
    275.54  HEARING.
    1.  Within ten days following the filing of the dissolution
 proposal with the board, the board shall fix a date for a
 hearing on the proposal which shall not be more than sixty
 days after the dissolution petition was filed with the board.
 The board shall publish notice of the date, time, and location
 of the hearing at least ten days prior to the date of the
 hearing by one publication in a newspaper in general
 circulation in the district.  The notice shall include the
 content of the dissolution proposal.  A person residing or
 owning land in the school district may present evidence and
 arguments at the hearing.  The president of the board shall
 preside at the hearing.  The board shall review testimony from
 the hearing and shall adopt or amend and adopt the dissolution
 proposal.
    2.  The board shall notify by registered mail the boards of
 directors of all school districts to which area of the
 affected school district will be attached and the director of
 the department of education of the contents of the dissolution
 proposal adopted by the board.  The notification shall be
 delivered using one of the following methods:
    a.  Mail bearing a United States postal service postmark.
    b.  Hand delivery.
    c.  Facsimile transmission.
    d.  Electronic delivery.
    3.  If the board of a district to which area of the
 affected school district will be attached objects to the
 attachment, that portion of the dissolution proposal will not
 be included in the proposal voted upon under section 275.55
 and the director of the department of education shall attach
 the area to a contiguous school district.
    4.  If the board of a district to which area of the
 affected school district will be attached objects to the
 division of assets and liabilities contained in the
 dissolution proposal, section 275.30 applies for the division
 of assets and liabilities to that district the matter shall be
 decided by a panel of disinterested arbitrators.  The panel
 shall consist of one arbitrator selected by each affected
 district objecting to the provisions of the dissolution
 proposal, one selected by each affected district in favor of
 the provisions of the dissolution proposal, and one selected
 by each dissolving district.  If the number of arbitrators
 selected is even, a disinterested arbitrator shall be selected
 by the administrator of the area education agency to which the
 dissolving district or districts belong.  The decision of the
 arbitrators shall be made in writing and filed with the
 secretary of the new corporation.  A party to the proceedings
 may appeal the decision to the district court by serving
 notice on the secretary of the new school corporation within
 twenty days after the decision is filed.  The appeal shall be
 tried in equity and a decree entered determining the entire
 matter, including the levy, collection, and distribution of
 any necessary taxes.
    5.  If a dissolution proposal adopted by a board contains
 provisions that ninety=five percent or more of the taxable
 valuation of the dissolving district would be assumed and
 attached to a single school district, the dissolving school
 district shall cease further proceedings to dissolve and shall
 comply with reorganization procedures specified in this
 chapter.
    Sec. 5.  Section 275.55, subsections 1 and 2, Code 2009,
 are amended to read as follows:
    1.  After the final hearing on the dissolution proposal,
 the board of the school district shall submit the proposition
 to the voters at an the next election held on a date specified
 in section 39.2, subsection 4, paragraph "c".  However, the
 date of the final hearing on the dissolution proposal must be
 not less than thirty nor more than sixty days before the
 election.  The proposition submitted to the voters residing in
 the school district shall describe each separate area to be
 attached to a contiguous school district and shall name the
 school district to which it will be attached.  In addition to
 the description, a map may be included in the summary of the
 question on the ballot.
    2.  The board shall give written notice of the proposed
 date of the election to the county commissioner of elections.
 The county commissioner of elections shall give notice of the
 election by one publication in the same newspaper in which the
 previous notice was published about the hearing, which
 publication shall not be less than four nor more than twenty
 days prior to the election.


                                                             
                               JOHN P. KIBBIE
                               President of the Senate


                                                             
                               PATRICK J. MURPHY
                               Speaker of the House

    I hereby certify that this bill originated in the Senate and
 is known as Senate File 360, Eighty=third General Assembly.


                                                             
                               MICHAEL E. MARSHALL
                               Secretary of the Senate
 Approved                , 2009


                                
 CHESTER J. CULVER
 Governor

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