A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY OF SCHOOL BOARDS BY AUTHORIZING LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS TO RAISE REVENUE FOR THE SUPPORT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Authorizes eligible local school boards, beginning with the the 2014-15 fiscal year, to levy and collect taxes for the support of public education as provided in this act.
Identifies as eligible local school boards those satisfying the following criteria: (1) the local board is elected, not appointed and (2) the local board and the board of county commissioners of each county in which the local school administrative unit (LEA)is located must have passed resolutions authorizing the local school board to levy taxes under this act.
Permits the local board to levy and collect taxes under this act beginning with the first fiscal year that starts more than six months after the adoption of the necessary resolutions by the board of county commissioners and the local school board. Provides that the tax levying authority encompasses authority to take other actions necessary to implement the taxing authority for the fiscal year.
Designates eligible local boards granted taxing authority as units of local government under GS 159-7(b)(15) and directs that they follow the provisions of the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act in Article 3 of GS Chapter 159, instead of the School Budget and Fiscal Control Act in Article 31 of GS Chapter 115C. However, directs the eligible local boards to continue to follow the budget format and fund structure in the School Budget and Fiscal Control Act. Instructs an eligible local board to file required reports with both the secretary of the Local Government Commission and the State Board of Education (SBE).
Designates the superintendent for the eligible local board to be the chief budget officer. Provides that any questions arising about the budget format and procedures to be followed by the eligible local boards is to be resolved by the Local Government Commission.
Confers the same authority to levy and collectproperty tax for purposes of public educationto the eligible local boards of education as that held by a board of county commissioners. Provides that eligible local boards have the same authority and follow the same procedures as a municipality in the collection of the ad valorem tax under Article 22 of GS Chapter 105, withspecified exceptions.
Directs the Local Government Commission and the Office of State Budget and Management to assist each eligible local board in developing plans to ensure the availability of sufficient revenues for the operation of schools during the start of the initial fiscal year for the eligible local boards to exercise taxing authority. States that the provisions of GS 105-374(h) and GS 105-375k, concerning joint foreclosure and consolidation of liens, respectively apply to eligible local boards under this act to the same extent as to counties, cities, and other taxing units.
Abolishessupplemental taxes enacted for the support of schools, effective July 1 of the initial fiscalyear inwhich the eligible local board has the authority to levy and collect taxes. Provides that Article 36 of GS Chapter 115C concerning tax supplements forschool purposes does notapply in counties in which the local board is eligible to levy and collect taxes.
Provides additional specifications regarding the distribution of local sales tax proceeds, interlocal agreements pertaining to existing indebtedness and related local sales tax proceeds, the use and transfer of capital reserve funds, and the issuance of bonds by local boards of education.
Amends GS 159-168 to to expand the definition for unit to includea school unit whose board is authorized to levy and collect taxes.Enacts new GS 115C-458.1 to authorize the SBE to make loans from the State Literary Fund directly to eligible local boards which are authorized to levy and collect taxes.
Amends GS 115C-452 to provide that in counties where the local board has been authorized to levy and collect taxes, the clerk of superior court is to remit the clear proceeds of all penalties and forfeitures and all fines collected in the General Court of Justice directly to the finance officer (the superintendent) of the LEA. In a county where there is both a county board of education and a city board of education with taxing authority, directs the clerk to remit the proceeds to the finance officer of the countyLEA and designates responsibility to the county finance officer to determine and remit to the city finance officer the city's portion of the proceeds based on projected average daily membership.
Specifies responsibilities and authority previously delegated to the board of county commissioners which no longer apply. These include: erecting school buildings, providing equipment for buildings, fire prevention, lease purchases and installment purchase contracts, operational leases of schoolbuilding and facilities, capital leases of school buildings and facilities, and the public school building capital fund. Limits an eligible local board's taxingability to the authority provided in this act.
Provides that nothing in this act prohibits a board of county commissioners from providing additional financial support to an eligible local board of education at its discretion.
Sets limitations on the tax rate for the initial fiscal year, prohibiting an eligible local board from setting a tax rate greater than the rate necessary to produce sufficient revenue to offset the county appropriations, calculated on a per-pupil basis, that are no longer available to the public schools for that fiscal year, plus the amount needed to cover the cost-of-living increase from the previous fiscal year. Specifies the responsibility of the board of county commissioners to provide notice to the eligible local boardby May 1 before the start of the fiscal yearregarding any county funds other than property and sales tax revenue previously appropriated to the local board that will no longer be available. Specifies guidelines for the eligible local board to calculate the property tax rate.
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