Montana Code Annotated 2013

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     20-3-210. Controversy appeals and hearings. (1) Except for disputes arising under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or as provided under 20-3-211 or 20-4-208, the county superintendent shall hear and decide all matters of controversy arising in the county as a result of decisions of the trustees of a district in the county. Only a county superintendent who possesses the qualifications of 20-3-201(2) may hear controversies related to teacher termination. Except as provided in subsection (2), exhaustion of administrative remedies under this chapter is required prior to filing an action in district court concerning a decision of the trustees. When appeals are made under 20-4-204 relating to the termination of services of a tenure teacher or under 20-4-207 relating to the dismissal of a teacher under contract, the county superintendent may appoint a qualified attorney to act as a legal adviser who shall assist the superintendent in preparing findings of fact and conclusions of law. Subsequently, either the teacher or trustees may appeal to the district court of the county in which the teacher was employed. The proceedings must be commenced not later than 60 days after the date of the decision of the county superintendent. The county superintendent shall hear and decide all controversies arising under:
     (a) 20-5-320 and 20-5-321 relating to the approval of out-of-district attendance agreements; or
     (b) any other provision of this title for which a procedure for resolving controversies is not expressly prescribed.
     (2) Exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a prerequisite to filing an action in district court concerning a decision of the trustees of a district in the following instances:
     (a) a state agency has been granted primary jurisdiction over the matter;
     (b) the matter is governed by a specific statute; or
     (c) the board of trustees has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of its jurisdiction.
     (3) The county superintendent shall hear the appeal and take testimony in order to determine the facts related to the controversy and may administer oaths to the witnesses that testify at the hearing. The county superintendent shall prepare a written transcript of the hearing proceedings. The decision on the matter of controversy that is made by the county superintendent must be based upon the facts established at the hearing.
     (4) Except for teacher termination cases, the decision of the county superintendent may be appealed to the superintendent of public instruction, and if it is appealed, the county superintendent shall supply a transcript of the hearing and any other documents entered as testimony at the hearing to the superintendent of public instruction. In teacher termination cases, an appeal may be filed with the district court of the county in which the teacher was employed no later than 60 days after the date of the decision of the county superintendent. If an appeal is filed, the county superintendent shall provide a transcript of the hearing and any other documents entered as testimony at the hearing to the district court.
     (5) Cost incurred by the office of the county superintendent must be paid from the general fund budget of the county in which the controversy is initiated.

     History: En. 75-5811 by Sec. 29, Ch. 5, L. 1971; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 306, L. 1974; R.C.M. 1947, 75-5811; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 489, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 252, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 439, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 563, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 438, L. 1997.

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