HOUSE BILL NO. 1174
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING A NEW CHAPTER THERETO, CREATING AN EDUCATIONAL FINANCE OVERVIEW COMMITTEE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Title 14, Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new Chapter 18, to read as follows:
"CHAPTER 18. EDUCATIONAL FINANCE OVERVIEW COMMITTEE §1801. Establishment of the Educational Finance Overview Committee.
There is hereby established the Educational Finance Overview Committee. §1802. Membership; Chairman.
The Committee shall be composed of five (5) persons, to be appointed by the Governor and to serve at the pleasure of the Governor, who shall designate the Committee's Chairman.
§1803. Duties and Responsibilities of the Committee.
(a) (1) With respect to any school district subject to this Chapter, the Committee shall certify by adoption of a "Certification of Available Revenues," at a time chosen by the Committee, such revenues to the schooldistrict as are available from all sources for the annual budget of the local school district. No school district subject to this Chapter shall adopt any budget which proposes expenditures in excess of the amount certified as available by the Committee. The "Certification of Available Revenues" may be amended by the Committee from time to time as the Committee may deem appropriate.
(2) The Committee shall have plenary authority to review, and make recommendations concerning, any annual budget or revisions thereto proposed by any school district and its successors in this State which receives State appropriations in fiscal year 1981 pursuant to Chapter 17 of this Title, in an amount greater than $20,000,000.
(1) No annual budget or revisions thereto proposed by any school district that is subject to this Chapter shall be approved by the local school board of said school district unless and until such budget has been expressly approved in writing by the Committee.
(1) With respect to any school district subject to this Chapter, the Committee may establish and require, by act of the Committee, a schedule for the orderly preparation of an annual budget for the local district in a form prescribed by the Committee. In the event that such a schedule is established by the Committee, the school district subject to such schedule shall file with the Committee its proposed annual budget no later than the date set by the Committee for such proposal.
(b) (1) The Committee shall have plenary authority to review the implementation of any annual budget or revisions thereto adopted by a school district subject to this Chapter. In the exercise of this responsibility, the Committee may review any matter having, in the opinion of the Committee, significant, or potentially adverse, financial impact upon the school district.
(2) Upon its review of any such matter, the Committee shall make, to the local school board of the school district subject to this Chapter, such recommendations as it deems necessary for corrective action.
(3) Upon the receipt of recommendations made to a local school board pursuant to S1803(b), said local school board of education shall accept or reject such recommendations, and shall take action forthwith thereon.
(4) In respect of the action taken by the board in response to recommendations made pursuant to this section by the Committee, the minutes of the board shall fully and accurately reflect the deliberations and determinations made by the board in taking such action.
§1804. Resources of Educational Finance Overview Committee.
(a) The Auditor of Accounts; Superintendent of Public Instruction; Attorney General; Controller General; Director of Research of Legislative Council; State Treasurer; Budget Director; Secretary of Finance; Director of Office of Management, Budget, and Planning; superintendents of local school districts; and the heads of all other State agencies shall cooperate with the Committee by making available to the Committee such employees, supplies, office space, and other assistance as the Committee may reasonably request in order to carry out its functions. All employees of State agencies shall cooperate fully and completely with the Committee when so requested by the Committee.
(b) The Committee shall have a right of full and complete access to all records of all State agencies and local districts reasonably relating to its duties, functions, and responsibilities under this Chapter. The Committee may compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and documents and files deemed necessary by the Committee to carry out its functions and duties by the issuance of subpoenas signed by the Chairman of the Committee. If a person subpoenaed to attend any investigation or hearing fails to obey without reasonable cause, or if a person in attendance in any such investigation or hearing refuses, without lawful cause, to be examined or to answer a legal or pertinent question, or to exhibit any book, account, record, or other document when ordered to do so by the Committee, the Committee may apply to the Superior Court for an order directing such person to show cause why he should not comply with such subpoena or such order. Upon return of the rule, the Court shall examine such person under oath, and if the Court shall determine, after giving such person an opportunity to be heard, that he refused without legal excuse to comply with a subpoena or order of the Committee, the Court may order such person to comply therewith. Any failure to obey the order may be punished as a contempt of the Superior Court, pursuant to the Rules of the Superior Court.
The Committee members shall be entitled to receive their actual disbursements for expenses in performing the duties of the Committee.
The Committee shall, at least quarterly, file such reports as the Committee shall deem appropriate. Such reports shall include the Committee's findings, its recommendations, the actions of local school districts in response to the Committee's recommendations, and any other matter that the Committee may deem appropriate to include, and such reports shall be submitted to each member of the General Assembly, to the Governor, and to the State Board of Education. Such reports shall be available for public inspection. Such reports shall be filed on or before January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15 of each year.
§1807. Sunset Provision.
The Committee shall cease to exist two (2) years from the effective date of this Act. A final report of the Committee shall be filed on or before April 15, 1982, and shall be a comprehensive report of the Committee's scope of work and of its findings since Inception. The report shall also contain a recommendation to the General Assembly and to the Governor as to whether its existence should be continued."
Approved July 8, 1980.