Senate Bill No. 71
Introduced By toews
By Request of the Office of Public Instruction
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act generally revising the duties of elected school officials; providing school district trustees with greater flexibility in determining pupil-instruction time; eliminating the need for the superintendent of public instruction to approve kindergarten variances for required hours of instruction, pupil-instruction-related days, and adult education programs operated by a school district; authorizing a board of trustees to declare an emergency in a district; clarifying the requirements for rescheduling instruction time canceled because of an unforeseen emergency; removing the requirement for a county superintendent or the superintendent of public instruction to determine that a reasonable effort has been made to make up school days lost because of an emergency; amending sections 20-1-301, 20-1-302, 20-1-304, 20-3-106, 20-6-209, 20-7-705, 20-9-311, 20-9-801, 20-9-802, and 20-9-806, MCA; repealing sections 20-9-803 and 20-9-804, MCA; and providing an effective date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 20-1-301, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-1-301. School fiscal year. (1) The school fiscal year
shall must begin on July 1 and end on June 30. At least 180
school days of pupil instruction shall and the minimum aggregate hours defined in subsection (2) must be conducted during
each school fiscal year, except that 175 days and 1,050 aggregate hours of pupil instruction for graduating seniors may be
sufficient, as provided in 20-9-313 , or unless a variance for kindergarten has been granted under 20-1-302 or a district is
granted a variance under the provisions of chapter 9, part 8, of this title, or a minimum of 90 days and 360 aggregate hours
of pupil instruction must be conducted for a kindergarten program, as provided in 20-7-117.
(2) The minimum aggregate hours required by grade are:
(a) 720 hours for grades 1 through 3; and
(b) 1,080 hours for grades 4 through 12.
(3) To calculate the number of school days of pupil instruction, a school district shall:
(a) determine the aggregate hours of pupil instruction by grade level;
(b) divide the aggregate hours of pupil instruction for each grade level by the minimum hours a day for that grade level provided in 20-1-302; and
(c) round the result down to the nearest whole number.
(4) For any elementary or high school district that fails to provide for at least 180 school days of pupil instruction and the minimum aggregate hours, as defined in subsection (2), the superintendent of public instruction shall reduce the county equalization as defined in 20-9-334 and the state equalization as defined in 20-9-343 for the district for that school year by 1/90th for each school day less than 180 school days as calculated in subsection (3)."
Section 2. Section 20-1-302, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-1-302. School day and week. Subject to 20-1-308, a school day of pupil instruction
shall must be at least 2 hours for
kindergartens and all other preschool programs, unless a variance has been granted by the superintendent of public
instruction in accordance with the policies of the board of public education, at least 4 hours for grades 1 through 3, and at
least 6 hours for grades 4 through 12. The number of hours in any one 1 school day for grades 4 through 12 may be reduced
by 1 hour if the total number of hours in the school week is not less than 30 hours. The number of hours in a school week
may be reduced, in an emergency, with the approval of the board of public education may be reduced at the discretion of
the trustees if the total number of pupil-instruction hours in the school year is not less than the minimum aggregate hours
required in 20-1-301."
Section 3. Section 20-1-304, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-1-304. Pupil-instruction-related day. A pupil-instruction-related day is a day of teacher activities devoted to
improving the quality of instruction. The activities may include but are not limited to inservice training, attending state
meetings of teacher organizations, and conducting parent conferences. A maximum of 7 pupil-instruction-related days may
be conducted during a school year, with a minimum of 3 of the days for instructional and professional development
meetings or other appropriate inservice training,
provided that if the days are approved by the superintendent of public
instruction planned in accordance with the policy adopted by the board of public education. The days may not be included
as a part of the required minimum of 180 days or the required minimum aggregate hours of pupil instruction."
Section 4. Section 20-3-106, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-3-106. Supervision of schools -- powers and duties. The superintendent of public instruction has the general supervision of the public schools and districts of the state and shall perform the following duties or acts in implementing and enforcing the provisions of this title:
(1) resolve any controversy resulting from the proration of costs by a joint board of trustees under the provisions of 20-3-362;
(2) issue, renew, or deny teacher certification and emergency authorizations of employment;
(3) negotiate reciprocal tuition agreements with other states in accordance with the provisions of 20-5-314;
(4) serve on the teachers' retirement board in accordance with the provisions of 2-15-1010;
(5) approve or disapprove the orders of a high school boundary commission in accordance with the provisions of 20-6-311;
(6) approve or disapprove the opening or reopening of a school in accordance with the provisions of 20-6-502, 20-6-503, 20-6-504, or 20-6-505;
(7) approve or disapprove school isolation within the limitations prescribed by 20-9-302;
(8) generally supervise the school budgeting procedures prescribed by law in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-102 and prescribe the school budget format in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-103 and 20-9-506;
(9) establish a system of communication for calculating joint district
revenues revenue in accordance with the provisions of
(10) approve or disapprove the adoption of a district's budget amendment resolution under the conditions prescribed in 20-9-163 and adopt rules for an application for additional direct state aid for a budget amendment in accordance with the approval and disbursement provisions of 20-9-166;
(11) generally supervise the school financial administration provisions as prescribed by 20-9-201(2);
(12) prescribe and furnish the annual report forms to enable the districts to report to the county superintendent in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-213(5) and the annual report forms to enable the county superintendents to report to the superintendent of public instruction in accordance with the provisions of 20-3-209;
(13) approve, disapprove, or adjust an increase of the average number belonging (ANB) in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-313 and 20-9-314;
(14) distribute BASE aid and special education allowable cost payments in support of the BASE funding program
accordance with the provisions of 20-9-331, 20-9-333, 20-9-342, 20-9-346, 20-9-347, and 20-9-366 through 20-9-369;
(15) provide for the uniform and equal provision of transportation by performing the duties prescribed by the provisions of 20-10-112;
(16) approve or disapprove an adult education program for which a district proposes to levy a tax in accordance with the
provisions of 20-7-705; (17)(16) request, accept, deposit, and expend federal money in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-603; (18)(17) authorize the use of federal money for the support of an interlocal cooperative agreement in accordance with the
provisions of 20-9-703 and 20-9-704; (19)(18) prescribe the form and contents of and approve or disapprove interstate contracts in accordance with the provisions
of 20-9-705; (20)(19) approve or disapprove the conduct of school on a Saturday or on pupil-instruction-related days in accordance with
the provisions of 20-1-303 and 20-1-304; (21)(20) recommend standards of accreditation for all schools to the board of public education and evaluate compliance
with the standards and recommend accreditation status of every school to the board of public education in accordance with
the provisions of 20-7-101 and 20-7-102; (22)(21) collect and maintain a file of curriculum guides and assist schools with instructional programs in accordance with
the provisions of 20-7-113 and 20-7-114; (23)(22) establish and maintain a library of visual, aural, and other educational media in accordance with the provisions of
20-7-201; (24)(23) license textbook dealers and initiate prosecution of textbook dealers violating the law in accordance with the
provisions of the textbooks part of this title; (25)(24) as the governing agent and executive officer of the state of Montana for K-12 vocational education, adopt the
policies prescribed by and in accordance with the provisions of 20-7-301; (26)(25) supervise and coordinate the conduct of special education in the state in accordance with the provisions of
20-7-403; (27)(26) administer the traffic education program in accordance with the provisions of 20-7-502; (28)(27) administer the school food services program in accordance with the provisions of 20-10-201 , 20-10-202, and
through 20-10-203; (29)(28) review school building plans and specifications in accordance with the provisions of 20-6-622; (30)(29) prescribe the method of identification and signals to be used by school safety patrols in accordance with the
provisions of 20-1-408; (31)(30) provide schools with information and technical assistance for compliance with the student assessment rules
provided for in 20-2-121 and collect and summarize the results of the student assessment for the board of public education
and the legislature; (32)(31) administer the distribution of guaranteed tax base aid in accordance with 20-9-366 through 20-9-369; and (33)(32) perform any other duty prescribed from time to time by this title, any other act of the legislature, or the policies of
the board of public education."
Section 5. Section 20-6-209, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-6-209. Elementary district abandonment. (1) The county superintendent shall declare an elementary district to be
abandoned and order the attachment of the territory of
such the district to a contiguous district of the county when:
(a) a school has not been operated by a district for at least 180 days under the provisions of 20-1-301 for each of 3
consecutive school fiscal years or a lesser number of days as approved by the
county superintendent or the superintendent
of public instruction board of trustees under the provisions of 20-9-804 20-9-806; or
(b) there is an insufficient number of residents who are qualified electors of the district that can
and will serve as the
trustees and clerk of the district so that a legal board of trustees can be organized.
(2) The county superintendent shall notify the elementary district that has not operated a school for 2 consecutive years
before the first day of the third year that the failure to operate a school for 180 days or a lesser number of days than
approved by the
county superintendent or the superintendent of public instruction as provided board of trustees under the
provisions of 20-9-804 20-9-806 during the ensuing school fiscal year shall constitute constitutes grounds for abandonment
of such the district at the conclusion of the succeeding school fiscal year. Failure by the county superintendent to provide
such the notification shall does not constitute a waiver of the abandonment requirement prescribed in subsection (1)(a)
(3) Any abandonment under subsection (1)(a)
shall become becomes effective on July 1. Any abandonment of an
elementary district under subsection (1)(b) shall become becomes effective immediately on the date of the abandonment
Section 6. Section 20-7-705, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-7-705. Adult education fund. (1) A separate adult education fund must be established when an adult education program is operated by a district or community college district. The financial administration of the fund must comply with the budgeting, financing, and expenditure provisions of the laws governing the schools.
(2) Whenever the trustees of a district establish an adult education program under the provisions of 20-7-702, they shall establish an adult education fund under the provisions of this section. The adult education fund is the depository for all district money received by the district in support of the adult education program. Federal and state adult education program money must be deposited in the miscellaneous programs fund.
(3) The trustees of a district may authorize the levy of a tax of not more than 1 mill on the district, except that trustees of a
county high school district may, whether or not the county high school district is unified with an elementary district under
the provisions of 20-6-312, authorize a levy of not more than 2 mills on the district and a K-12 school district formed under
the provisions of 20-6-701 may authorize a levy of not more than 3 mills on the district, for the operation of an adult
when the superintendent of public instruction has approved the educational program to be supported by
the levy. The trustees shall obtain the approval of the superintendent of public instruction before the fourth Monday of June
in order to include the expenditures to be financed by the levy in the preliminary budget. The superintendent of public
instruction shall promulgate rules and forms for the approval.
(4) Whenever the trustees of a district decide to offer an adult education program during the ensuing school fiscal year, they shall budget for the cost of the program in the adult education fund of the preliminary budget. Any expenditures in support of the adult education program under the final adult education budget must be made in accordance with the financial administration provisions of this title for a budgeted fund.
(5) When a tax levy for an adult education program
that has been approved by the superintendent of public instruction is
included as a revenue item on the final adult education budget, the county superintendent shall report the levy requirement
to the county commissioners on the fourth Monday of August and a levy on the district must be made by the county
commissioners in accordance with 20-9-142."
Section 7. Section 20-9-311, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-311. Calculation of average number belonging (ANB). (1) Average number belonging (ANB) must be computed as follows:
(a) compute an average enrollment by adding a count of regularly enrolled full-time pupils who were enrolled as of the first Monday in October of the prior school fiscal year to a count of regularly enrolled pupils on February 1 of the prior school fiscal year, or the nearest school day if those dates do not fall on a school day, and divide the sum by two; and
(b) multiply the average enrollment calculated in subsection (1)(a) by the sum of the pupil-instruction and the approved pupil-instruction-related days for the current school fiscal year and divide by 180.
(2) For the purpose of calculating ANB under subsection (1), up to 7 approved pupil-instruction-related days may be included in the calculation.
(3) When a school district has approval to operate less than 180 school days under
20-9-804 20-9-806, the total ANB must
be calculated in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-805.
(4) Enrollment for a part of a morning session or a part of an afternoon session by a pupil must be counted as enrollment for one-half day.
(5) In calculating the ANB for pupils enrolled in a program established under 20-7-117(1), enrollment at a regular session
of the program for at least 2 hours of either a morning or an afternoon session must be counted as one-half pupil for ANB
If a variance has been granted as provided in 20-1-302, ANB must be computed in a manner prescribed by the
superintendent of public instruction, but the The ANB for a kindergarten student may not exceed one-half for each
any a pupil has been absent, with or without excuse, for more than 10 consecutive school days, the pupil may not
be included in the enrollment count used in the calculation of the ANB unless the pupil resumes attendance prior to the day
of the enrollment count.
(7) The enrollment of prekindergarten pupils, as provided in 20-7-117, may not be included in the ANB calculations.
(8) The average number belonging of the regularly enrolled, full-time pupils for the public schools of a district must be based on the aggregate of all the regularly enrolled, full-time pupils attending the schools of the district, except that when:
(a) (i) a school of the district is located more than 20 miles beyond the incorporated limits of a city or town located in the district and at least 20 miles from any other school of the district, the number of regularly enrolled, full-time pupils of the school must be calculated separately for ANB purposes and the district must receive a basic entitlement for the school calculated separately from the other schools of the district;
(ii) a school of the district is located more than 20 miles from any other school of the district and
no incorporated territory
is not involved in the district, the number of regularly enrolled, full-time pupils of the school must be calculated separately
for ANB purposes and the district must receive a basic entitlement for the school calculated separately from the other
schools of the district; or
(iii) the superintendent of public instruction approves an application not to aggregate when conditions exist affecting transportation, such as poor roads, mountains, rivers, or other obstacles to travel, or when any other condition exists that would result in an unusual hardship to the pupils of the school if they were transported to another school, the number of regularly enrolled, full-time pupils of the school must be calculated separately for ANB purposes and the district must receive a basic entitlement for the school calculated separately from the other schools of the district;
(b) a junior high school has been approved and accredited as a junior high school, all of the regularly enrolled, full-time pupils of the junior high school must be considered as high school district pupils for ANB purposes;
(c) a middle school has been approved and accredited, all pupils below the 7th grade must be considered elementary school pupils for ANB purposes and the 7th and 8th grade pupils must be considered high school pupils for ANB purposes; or
(d) a school has not been accredited by the board of public education, the regularly enrolled, full-time pupils attending the nonaccredited school are not eligible for average number belonging calculation purposes, nor will an average number belonging for the nonaccredited school be used in determining the BASE funding program for the district.
(9) When 11th or 12th grade students are regularly enrolled on a part-time basis, high schools may calculate the ANB to include an "equivalent ANB" for those students. The method for calculating an equivalent ANB must be determined in a manner prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction.
(10) For average daily attendance reporting purposes, districts shall provide the superintendent of public instruction with annual reports of school attendance for regularly enrolled students and special education students, using a format determined by the superintendent."
Section 8. Section 20-9-801, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-801. Purpose. This part governs a school district's entitlement to state equalization apportionment funds for any
school year during which the school district is unable to conduct the minimum number of school days and the minimum
aggregate hours by grade required by
law 20-1-301 by reason of one or more unforeseen emergencies. The provisions of
this part must be narrowly interpreted."
Section 9. Section 20-9-802, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-802. Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Declaration of emergency" means a declaration
of a state of emergency by the governor as authorized by 10-3-302 by
a board of trustees that an unforeseen emergency has occurred in the district.
(2) "Reasonable effort" means the rescheduling or extension of the school district's instructional calendar in an effort to attain the minimum number of school days required by law by:
(a) extending the school year
1 week 3 days and the equivalent aggregate hours of pupil instruction beyond the last
scheduled day; or
(b) the use of scheduled vacation days.
(3) "School day" means the school day defined in 20-1-302.
(4) "Unforeseen emergency" means a fire, flood, explosion, storm, earthquake, riot, insurrection, community disaster, or
act of God or
any a combination of the foregoing that acts as a principal cause for a school district's inability to conduct one
1 or more scheduled school days."
Section 10. Section 20-9-806, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-806. School closure by declaration of emergency. (1) If a school is closed by reason of
a declaration of an
unforeseen emergency by the governor, that results in a declaration of emergency by the board of trustees, the trustees may
later adopt a resolution that a reasonable effort has been made to reschedule the pupil-instruction time lost because of the
unforeseen emergency. If the trustees adopt the resolution, the pupil-instruction days time lost during the closure need not
be rescheduled to meet the minimum requirement for pupil-instruction days that a school district must conduct during the
school year in order to be entitled to full annual equalization apportionment.
(2) At least 3 school days or the equivalent aggregate hours must have been made up before the trustees can declare that a reasonable effort has been made."
Section 11. Repealer. Sections 20-9-803 and 20-9-804, MCA, are repealed.
Section 12. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.