CHAPTER 345

AN ACT RELATING TO CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS FOR SCHOOLS OF THE STATE AND TO BONDS AND NOTES THEREFOR.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (three-fourths of all the Members elected to each House concurring therein):

Section 1. Title 29, Delaware Code, is amended by enacting a new Chapter as follows:

CHAPTER 75. SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

§ 7501. Definitions

As used in this Chapter--

(a) "School Construction Bond Authorization Act" means: An act of the General Assembly, concurred in by 3/4 of all the members elected to each House, appropriating moneys of the State for capital improvements to the School System of the State and authorizing the State of Delaware to borrow money therefor, and to issue bonds and notes in connection therewith.

(b) "Bonds" means any bonds authorized to be issued by the State of Delaware pursuant to a School Construction Bond Authorization Act.

(c) "Notes" means anticipation notes issued by the State of Delaware in anticipation of the issuance of bonds.

(d) "School Construction" includes, but is not limited to, the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, alteration, remodeling or enlargement of school buildings, the acquisition or installation of apparatus or equipment or educational supplies suitable for the use of such buildings, the acquisition of machinery necessary for the maintenance of such buildings or school grounds, the acquisition of land required as sites for such buildings, or for playgrounds, including land or rights in land needed to provide access to sites and to provide suitable playgrounds, and the grading or other improvements of such sites, land or rights in land, including the construction of sidewalks where authorized by law, the construction of any sewers or water mains needed to connect such buildings to any publicly owned sewer system or water system, the acquisition of temporary buildings or facilities for school purposes to be used until such time as permanent school buildings or facilities shall become available. The cost of such school construction shall not include any expenses in connection with the holding of any referendum for such school construction.

(e) "Total cost" means the maximum sum or sums of money which may be spent for school construction under a particular School Construction Bond Authorization Act in a particular school district; provided, that nothing contained in this Chapter shall prevent any school district from increasing said total cost by providing a larger amount from local sources than that stated as that district's local share, nor prevent the acceptance and use of any funds appropriated by the Congress of the United States for these purposes.

(f) "State share" means that maximum sum of money which may be paid from state sources for school construction in a particular school district as provided in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act.

(g) "Local share" means the sum of money specified in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act to render permissible the use of the state share for school construction within the particular school district.

(h) "School District" means a school district, a special school district, the City of Wilmington, or any newly created school unit or area for which no board has been appointed or elected at the time of the effective date of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act or any area which the State Board of Education shall determine to be the area served by any school facility which is referred to in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act and for which there is specified no local share.

(i) "School Building Commission" means one of the School Building Commissions created by Section 7516 of this Chapter.

§ 7502. Applicability of this Chapter; relation to authorization act

(a) Unless otherwise provided in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act the provisions of this Chapter in addition to the provisions of Chapter 74, Title 29, Delaware Code, entitled "Bonds and Notes of the State" shall apply to and control all school construction financed by the issuance of Bonds and Notes of the State for the purpose of school construction and the issuance of said Bonds and Notes and to the appropriations for school construction contained in the School Construction Bond Authorization Act.

(b) The provisions of this Chapter are hereby incorporated in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act unless specifically excepted therefrom and shall be deemed a part of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act just as if contained verbatim in the School Construction Bond Authorization Act.

§ 7503. Matching funds

Except in the case of a school district for which a local share is not required by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act, the State share apportioned to a school district by such School Construction Bond Authorization Act shall not be expended unless the local share for such school district shall have been deposited with the State Treasurer not later than two years after the effective date of a School Construction Bond Authorization Act.

§ 7504. Time Limit on Construction

No school construction shall be started under authority of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act later than two years after the effective date of the Act; and no money shall be borrowed by the State under authority of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act later than two years after the effective date of such Act, except such moneys as are necessary to complete school construction started prior to two years after the effective date of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act.

§ 7505. Formula for Construction

No school construction shall be paid with funds appropriated by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act or with funds for which a State share is provided by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act if such construction does not conform with the formula for school construction established by the State Board of Education.

§ 7506. Local bonds; referendum; notice

(c) Any school district which is entitled under the provisions of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act to an apportionment of a State share and which is required therein to provide a local matching share is authorized to issue its bonds for the purpose of raising money to pay the local share set forth in such School Construction Bond Authorization Act and raising such additional amount, if any, as such school district may desire to expend for school construction. If such bonds are issued, they shall be issued by the Board of Trustees or Board of Education of the school district pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 21, Title 14, Delaware Code, except in the case of the City of Wilmington, in which case the local share to be contributed by the Board of Public Education in Wilmington may be raised by the proper authorities of said City by issuing bonds pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 175, Volume 52, or Chapter 163, Volume 32, Laws of Delaware, as amended. The provisions of Chapter 20, Title 14, Delaware Code, shall be complied with in the event that the amount in addition to the local share is for school construction which varies from the standard formula.

(d) A copy of the referendum notice shall be submitted to the State Board of Education at the time when the votes are canvassed by such State Board of Education.

(c) Instead of issuing bonds as hereinbefore provided, any school district may pay its local share by using gifts or any other moneys on hand which are not required by law to be used for some other purpose.

§ 7507. Bond Anticipation Notes of local district

(e) After a local referendum authorizing the sale of local school bonds and in anticipation of the issuance of the bonds, the Board of School Trustees or Board of Education of a school district may issue and sell notes of the school district at either public or private sale for not less than par and accrued interest. The notes shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding four per cent per annum. They may be renewed from time to time by the issuance and sale of new notes, but all such notes shall mature and be paid not later than four years after issuance. The notes shall be signed by the Chairman and one member of the Board of School Trustees or President and one member of the Board of Education of the district, the seal of the School District shall be impressed on each of the notes and shall be payable at the Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware in the county in which the district is located. All provisions of law pertaining to local school bonds and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter shall apply to notes issued hereunder.

() The total amount of notes outstanding at any one time, together with the total amount of bonds theretofore issued in any district shall not exceed that portion of the total authorized bonded indebtedness of the school district for which bonds have been authorized by local referendum within the district.

(a) The notes may be redeemed at par and accrued interest prior to their maturity if the right of the school district to do so shall have been reserved by an express provision in the notes. The principal and interest on said notes, including renewal notes, shall be paid from the proceeds of the sale of bonds or from other funds available therefor. The notes shall be general obligations of the school district and the faith and credit of the school district shall be pledged for the full and complete payment of the principal of and interest on such notes and such notes shall be exempt from taxation with respect to both principal and interest by the State or any political subdivision thereof for any purpose. The Board of Education or the Board of School Trustees of the issuing school district shall have the same power to levy taxes to pay such notes and the interest thereon as in the case of bonds.

§ 7508. Determination of necessity

The State Board of Education shall determine the present necessity for any school construction program as authorized by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act in the several school districts of the State and, in so doing, shall take into consideration the number of pupils, actual or potential, in the school district, the feasibility and possibility of the consolidation of school district, the present and future possibility of overcrowding of school facilities within the school district, the condition and quality of existing school facilities within the district, and all other matters and conditions pertinent to the determination of the present necessity of the school construction program, including the reasonable future development or dissolution of the school district. In making such determination of necessity, the State Board of Education shall have the authority to make a determination of necessity of a school construction program for a school district which will have a lesser total cost than the maximum total cost for such school district set forth in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act. Whenever a determination of necessity of a school construction program is made in an amount less than the total maximum cost for such school district as set forth in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act, the State share and the local share shall be reduced in the proportions they bear to the total maximum cost set forth in that Act.

§ 7509. Certificate of necessity

Whenever the State Board of Education shall make a determination of necessity for a school construction program within a school district, it shall certify that fact to the State Treasurer together with the amount of the total cost, the State share, and the local share, if any, as authorized by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act and shall send a copy of such certification to the State Auditor of Accounts and the Budget Director and the School Building Commission of such school district. Upon the receipt by the State Treasurer of the certification of said determination, the said school construction program shall be deemed to be authorized and the provisions of this Chapter and any School Construction Bond Authorization Act for the issuance of State and local bonds to provide the funds for school construction programs shall be in full force and effect with respect to such school construction program; provided, however, that, except in cases where a local share is not required by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act, such school construction program shall not be carried out until the local share shall have been deposited with the State Treasurer. The issuing officers may at any time after the State Treasurer receives such certificate proceed to issue bonds or notes of the State to provide the funds for the State share thereof, whether or not the requisite local share shall have been actually deposited with the State Treasurer, but the proceeds of said bonds or notes shall not be expended until the requisite local share shall have been so deposited.

§ 7510. Approval of plans; modification

After making the certificate required by Section 7508 of this chapter, the State Board of Education is authorized and directed to consider the preliminary and final plans, estimates of costs, and specifications of any school construction program and to approve or modify such plans, estimates and specifications, and also to amend the certificates of necessity provided that nothing herein shall be construed to give said State Board of Education authority to increase the total share of such program beyond the maximum limit set forth in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act. No certificate of necessity shall be amended after the date of successful local school district referendum. In the event that a certificate shall be amended as herein provided, the fact of such amendment shall be communicated to the State Treasurer, and the copies thereof shall be sent to the State Auditor of Accounts and the Budget Director and the School Building Commission of the School District.

§ 7511. Consolidation of School Districts

In the event that two or more existing school districts shall consolidate, the maximum total cost, the maximum State share, and the maximum local share of a school construction program as authorized by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act for such consolidated district shall be the totals of said amounts appearing in the School Construction Bond Authorization Act for the school districts so consolidating, except that the construction funds shall be used only as originally authorized in the certificates of necessity issued to the original districts.

§ 7512. Division of a School District

In the event that an existing school district is divided into two or more school districts, the maximum total cost, the maximum State share, and the maximum local share of the school construction program, as authorized for the existing district by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act shall be determined and allocated among the resulting districts by the State Board of Education by taking into consideration the same factors prescribed by Section 7508 of this Chapter in determining the necessity for the school construction program in such resulting school districts; provided, however, that the aggregate amounts so determined by the Board of Education to be allocated to such resulting districts shall not exceed the amount of the maximum total cost, maximum State share and maximum local share, respectively, in the pertinent School Construction Bond Authorization Act with respect to the original school district so divided. Such allocated amounts shall be in lieu of the amounts set forth in any School Construction Bond Authorization Act for the original school district, and applicable to Certificates of Necessity issued pursuant to the School Construction Bond Authorization Act and this chapter.

§ 7513. Local funds to be deposited

The moneys paid to the State Treasurer by a School District as its local share under any School Construction Bond Authorization Act shall be deposited by the State Treasurer in the Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware at Dover and shall be expended only for school construction in such district. Each of said local shares shall be credited with interest when and to the same extent as the said Bank credits interest on deposits of other State moneys in said Bank.

§ 7514. Reversion of Unexpended State Share

Any sum of money which has been appropriated or allocated to any school district by the State of Delaware under the provisions of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act which remains unexpended one year after pupil occupancy of any school building constructed under the provisions of the School Construction Bond Authorization Act authorizing the construction shall revert to the State of Delaware and shall be deposited to a special account to be applied against future school construction bond requirements.

§ 7515. Reversion of Unexpended Local Share

Any sum of money which has been appropriated by any local school district under the provisions of a School Construction Bond Authorization Act which remains unexpended one year after pupil occupancy of any school building constructed under the provisions of the School Construction Bond Authorization Act authorizing the construction shall be deposited to the debt service account of the school district to be used only for purposes of retirement of school district bonds and interest thereon.

§ 7516. School Building Commission

There is created a commission for each school district of the State to be known as the "School Building Commission" of the particular district. The School Building Commission shall be composed of the active members of the Board of Trustees or Board of Education of such school district and two members of the State Board of Education ex-officio, the latter two to be as designated from time to time by the State Board of Education, except (1) in the City of Wilmington, where the Board of Education in Wilmington shall be the School Building Commission, and except (2) in school districts which do not have Board of Trustees or Board of Education, where the School Building Commission shall be composed of three residents of the school district appointed by the Governor, to serve at his pleasure, and two members of the State Board of Education as designated from time to time by the State Board of Education. No act of a School Building Commission shall be binding unless a majority of the members exclusive of the ex-officio members, of such Commission shall concur therein.

§ 7517. Aid to School Building Commissions

The State Board of Education shall render such assistance to School Building Commissions as they may request in the preparation of their preliminary and final plans for school construction.

§ 7518. Approval of plans

The final plans, specifications and estimates of costs of school construction under any School Construction Bond Authorization Act and this Chapter shall be approved by the State Board of Education. No School Building Commission shall change or alter the final plans as approved without the written consent of the State Board of Education or its designated representatives.

§ 7519. Powers of School Building Commission; Contracts

It shall be the province and duty of the School Building Commission for any district to cause the school construction program authorized under any School Construction Bond Authorization Act and this Chapter for such school district to be carried out. Such School Building Commission, with consent of State Board of Education or its designated representatives, shall have power to make and enter into all contracts for school construction and for labor, materials, supplies, instrumentalities, furniture and equipment required to accomplish any such school construction program (including purchase of all educational supplies necessary for the initial operation of school so built, altered, or added to), provided that all contracts involving expenditure shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 69, Title 29, Delaware Code, entitled "Procurement of Material and Award of Contracts for Public Works by State Agencies".

§ 7520. Supervision of Construction

The School Building Commission in each school district shall supervise, or cause to be supervised the school construction program in such school district.

§ 7521. Secretary of School Building Commission

The School Building Commission of the school district shall, with the approval of the Secretary of the State Board of Education, designate from time to time a person to serve as Secretary of the School Building Commission. The secretary shall be the accountant of such School Building Commission. The School Building Commission shall cause the secretary to inaugurate and maintain a system of accounting which shall show in detail the expenditures of the School Building Commission, the cost of school construction, and such other details as the State Board of Education may from time to time require. Each School Building Commission shall have power to employ engineers, architects, and such other employees as it deems essential to the proper and expeditious performance of its duties under this Chapter, to fix their salaries and length of service, and to dismiss them for any cause which it shall deem sufficient.

§ 7522. Approval of bills

All bills for the expenses of the School Building Commission of any School District for carrying out the school construction program of such school district under this Chapter, except the City of Wilmington, must be marked "approved", and such approval must be signed by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of such School Building Commission and attested by the Secretary or acting secretary of such Commission.

§ 7523. Warrants

The School Building Commission of each School District shall, when and as funds are required (and not until then) for the payment of the expenses of carrying out the school construction program in such school district contemplated by this Chapter, including expenses of engineers, architects, and other employees of such School Building Commission, draw warrants on the State Treasurer for the moneys required, which warrants shall be signed by the chairman or vice-chairman and attested by the Secretary or acting secretary of such School Building Commission; such warrants shall be delivered to the State Budget Director who shall thereupon deliver them to the State Treasurer, and the State Treasurer shall pay the same.

§ 7524. City of Wilmington Schools

(a) The carrying out of school construction programs authorized by any School Construction Bond Authorization Act in the City of Wilmington shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board of Public Education in Wilmington. The Board of Public Education in Wilmington is authorized and empowered to make all contracts and to do all things necessary or proper for the purpose of carrying out such construction programs in the City of Wilmington; provided, that the cost thereof shall not exceed in the aggregate the total of the State share certified by the State Board of Education and the local share deposited by the Board of Public Education in Wilmington; and provided, further that all of the provisions of this Chapter are followed.

(b) The Board of Public Education in Wilmington shall keep accurate detailed accounts of the cost of all school construction in the City of Wilmington under the provisions of any School Construction Bond Authorization Act and this Chapter and of all moneys expended therefor. Such accounts shall be deemed to be public records.

§ 7525. Acquisition of lands

(a) Whenever lands shall be required for school construction under any School Construction Bond Authorization Act and this chapter in the City of Wilmington, the Board of Public Education in Wilmington is authorized to select and acquire such land. And whenever land shall be required for the carrying out of any such school construction for any special school district outside of the City of Wilmington, the School Building Commission of such special school district is authorized to select and acquire such land. And whenever land shall be required for any such school construction in any other school district in this State the local School Building Commission is authorized to acquire such land upon the approval of the State Board of Education or designated representatives.

(b) The land may be acquired by contract with the owner or owners thereof at a fair value or by condemnation proceedings instituted by the appropriate official body, but such condemnation proceedings shall not be instituted against any land, building, franchise, easement or other property of a public utility used by it in providing its service to the public.

(c) The cost of such land shall be deemed to be part of the cost of such school construction.

(d) The title to any lands acquired in any manner whatever shall be a fee simple title and shall be vested in the State Board of Education, except that the title to lands so acquired in the City of Wilmington or in any special school district shall be vested in the Board of Public Education in Wilmington or in the Board of Education of such special school district, as the case may be.

(e) Condemnation proceedings to acquire land in any case where such land cannot for any reason be acquired by agreement with the owner or owners thereof for a fair or reasonable consideration may be instituted by the appropriate official body under the provisions of Section 2303, Title 14 and Chapter 61, Title 10, Delaware Code.

§ 7526. Use of appropriated funds for supervision and auditing

One and one-half percent of the total appropriation for the total cost of any school construction pursuant to this chapter shall be set aside by each school district receiving an appropriation for school construction and allocated to the State Board of Education for the purpose of covering the cost of supervision and auditing of the school construction program.

Approved July 7, 1964.