(a) The State Board of Education shall be composed of nine (9) members:
(1) Two (2) members to be selected from each of the congressional districts of the state as they exist at the time of appointment; and
(2) One (1) member to be appointed at large from within the state.
(1) The term of office of a member of the state board shall be for a single term of seven (7) years.
(A) Any member appointed to the state board to fill a vacancy for an uncompleted term with less than three (3) years remaining on the original term may be reappointed to an additional term of seven (7) years.
(B) No member serving three (3) or more years on the state board may be reappointed.
(3) No current or new member shall be allowed to resign in order to be appointed to a new term on the state board.
(c) The membership of the state board shall reflect the diversity in general education.
(1) No person may serve as a member of the state board unless he or she is a qualified elector and is a person of high moral standards and recognized ability.
(2) Neither the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education nor any candidate for public office, holder of a public office in the state, schoolteacher, county or city superintendent, employee of a state-supported college or university, or member of any board of trustees of any state institution of higher education shall serve as a member of the state board.
(e) The members of the state board shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to the confirmation of the Senate and shall take the oath of office for officers prescribed by the Arkansas Constitution.
(1) Whenever a vacancy occurs in the membership of the state board, the Governor shall appoint a successor who shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the member that he or she succeeded, subject to all other provisions of this section.
(2) Resignation, disqualification, incapacitation from mental or physical disability or otherwise, or change in status from the eligibility requirements for membership on the state board shall automatically create a vacancy in the membership of the state board, and no such member shall thereafter exercise any of the functions of membership on the state board even though his or her successor has not been appointed.
(1) Members of the state board shall be subject to removal from office by the Governor when the actions or condition of a member shall be considered as sufficient cause for removal.
(2) However, before a member may be removed for cause, this cause must have been accepted as true, good, and sufficient by a majority written vote of all members of the state board after a formal hearing at a regular or special session of the state board.
(h) The members of the state board shall serve without remuneration but may receive expense reimbursement and stipends in accordance with § 25-16-901 et seq., as follows:
(1) Actual expenses while attending regular and special meetings of the state board; and
(2) A per diem allowance when in attendance at regular or special meetings of the state board.
(1) Subject to confirmation by the Governor, the State Board of Education is empowered to employ a person to act as the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and who shall be the administrative head of the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.
(2) The commissioner shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
(3) The commissioner shall report to the Secretary of the Department of Education.
(b) The commissioner shall:
(1) Devote all of his or her time to the duties of his or her office;
(2) Act as an agent of the state board; and
(3) Perform other duties as are designated by the state board and by statute.
(1) The person selected as the commissioner shall:
(A) Be a person of good moral character, recognized as a leader in the field of education, and qualified technically and by experience to direct the work of the division; and
(B) Unless a deputy commissioner meets the requirements of this subdivision (c)(1)(B), a person selected as commissioner shall:
(i) Hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution;
(ii) Have had ten (10) years’ experience as a teacher, five (5) of which must be of an administrative or supervisory nature; and
(iii) Hold a valid state teacher’s license.
(2) No person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity to any member of the state board shall be eligible to serve as commissioner.
(d) It is the specific intention of this act to define and declare the commissioner to be the employee of the state board.
(1) The commissioner, or a disbursing agent designated by him or her and approved by the state board, shall give bond to the State of Arkansas as provided by law for other disbursing agents conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties and the faithful accounting for all the school money of the state, of any county, or of any school district that may come into his or her hands.
(2) The bond shall be in a solvent surety company having a right to do business in the State of Arkansas and shall be approved by the state board.
(3) The premium on the bond shall be paid by the state board as one of the expenses of the state board.
(f) The state shall furnish the commissioner with suitable offices.
(a) The State Board of Education shall elect one (1) of its number chair, one (1) vice chair, and such other officers as the state board deems necessary to perfect its organization.
(b) The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education shall act as ex officio secretary of the state board without a vote.
(a) The State Board of Education shall:
(1) Have general supervision of the public schools of the state;
(2) Recommend courses of study for the public schools and teacher training institutions;
(3) Issue licenses based upon credentials presented by applicants for licenses to teach in the public schools of the state;
(4) Qualify and standardize public schools and prescribe requirements for accrediting and grading public schools;
(5) Supervise the operation of school district budgets;
(6) Supervise the purchase and distribution of textbooks;
(7) Take such other action as it may deem necessary to promote:
(A) The physical welfare of school children;
(B) The organization and efficiency of the public schools of the state; and
(C) Public education and awareness about racial profiling;
(A) Perform all other functions that may now or hereafter be delegated to the state board by law.
(B) However, this section shall not prohibit the state board and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education from issuing teachers’ licenses upon the results of teachers’ examinations as now provided by law;
(9) Eliminate unnecessary reports and paperwork by yearly identifying and compiling a list of all reports that are required from local school districts by the division or the state board for the school year;
(10) Adopt policies to ensure, except as allowed under subsection (b) of this section, that local school districts are not required by the state board or the division to:
(A) Provide information that is already available on a division student information management system or housed within the division;
(B) Provide the same written information more than one (1) time during a school year unless the information has changed during the school year; or
(C) Complete forms for children with disabilities that are not necessary to ensure compliance with federal statutes and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, state mandates, and corresponding appropriations governing the provision of special education services to students with disabilities;
(A) If the state board orders the takeover of a school district under authority granted under this title and also orders the removal of the school district board of directors, the state board may assume all authority of the school district board of directors as may be necessary for the day-to-day governance of the school district.
(B) The state board may designate the authority granted under this subdivision (a)(11) to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education; and
(12) Have general supervision of career and technical education.
(b) The state board may require information available on a division student information management system or require the same information twice if the state board can demonstrate a compelling need and can demonstrate there is not a more expeditious manner of getting the information.
(c) The state board may organize and, from time to time, change and alter the division into branches or sections as may be found necessary and desirable by the commissioner to perform all proper functions and to render maximum service relating to the operation and improvement of the general education programs of the state.
(d) The state board shall adopt rules for its meetings and proceedings as it deems advisable.
The State Board of Education shall adopt a seal, and the seal shall be used by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to authenticate documents or copies of documents as the state board or commissioner may deem advisable.
The State Board of Education is empowered to make plans, promulgate rules, and seek waivers for flexibility as necessary for this state to meet the requirements of a law enacted by the United States Congress for general education, including without limitation the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Pub. L. No. 89-10, as reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Pub. L. No. 114-95, or any supplementary federal regulations, directives, or decisions of the United States Department of Education pertaining to that legislation.
(a) Each public school district and each public school within its boundaries, in collaboration with parents, shall establish a parental involvement plan, including programs and practices that enhance parental involvement and reflect the specific needs of students and their families.
(b) The parental involvement program in each school shall:
(1) Involve parents of students at all grade levels in a variety of roles;
(2) Be comprehensive and coordinated in nature;
(A) Recognize that communication between home and school should be regular, two-way, and meaningful.
(B) To encourage communication with parents, the school shall:
(i) Prepare an informational packet to be distributed annually to the parent of each child in the school, appropriate for the age and grade of the child, describing:
(a) The school’s parental involvement program;
(b) The recommended role of the parent, student, teacher, and school;
(c) Ways for the parent to become involved in the school and his or her child’s education;
(d) A survey for the parent regarding his or her interests concerning volunteering at the school;
(e) Activities planned throughout the school year to encourage parental involvement; and
(f) A system to allow the parents and teachers to communicate in a regular, two-way, and meaningful manner with the child’s teacher and the school principal; and
(ii) Schedule no fewer than two (2) parent-teacher conferences per school year.
(C) The school may plan and engage in other activities determined by the school to be beneficial to encourage communication with parents;
(A) Promote and support responsible parenting.
(B) To promote and support responsible parenting, the school shall, as funds are available:
(i) Purchase parenting books, magazines, and other informative material regarding responsible parenting through the school library, advertise the current selection, and give parents an opportunity to borrow the materials for review;
(ii) Create parent centers; and
(iii) Plan and engage in other activities determined by the school to be beneficial to promoting and supporting responsible parenting;
(A) Acknowledge that parents play an integral role in assisting student learning.
(B) To help parents in assisting students, the school shall:
(i) Schedule regular parent involvement meetings at which parents are given a report on the state of the school and an overview of:
(a) What students will be learning;
(b) How students will be assessed;
(c) What a parent should expect for his or her child’s education; and
(d) How a parent can assist and make a difference in his or her child’s education;
(ii) Provide instruction to a parent on how to incorporate developmentally appropriate learning activities in the home environment, including without limitation:
(a) Role play and demonstration by trained volunteers;
(b) The use of and access to Division of Elementary and Secondary Education website tools for parents;
(c) Assistance with nutritional meal planning and preparation; and
(d) Other strategies or curricula developed or acquired by the school district for at-home parental instruction approved by the division; and
(iii) Engage in other activities determined by the school to help a parent assist in his or her child’s learning;
(A) Welcome parents into the school and seek parental support and assistance.
(B) To welcome parents into the school, the school shall:
(i) Not have any school policies or procedures that would discourage a parent from visiting the school or from visiting a child’s classrooms;
(ii) Encourage school staff to use the volunteer surveys to compile a volunteer resource book listing the interests and availability of volunteers so that school staff may:
(a) Determine how frequently a volunteer would like to participate, including the option of just one (1) time per year;
(b) Include options for those who are available to help at home; and
(c) Help match school needs with volunteer interests; and
(iii) Engage in other activities determined by the school to welcome parents into the school;
(A) Recognize that a parent is a full partner in the decisions that affect his or her child and family.
(B) To encourage a parent to participate as a full partner in the decisions that affect his or her child and family, the school shall:
(i) Include in the school’s policy handbook the school’s process for resolving parental concerns, including how to define a problem, whom to approach first, and how to develop solutions;
(ii) Sponsor seminars to inform the parents of high school students about how to be involved in the decisions affecting course selection, career planning, and preparation for postsecondary opportunities; and
(iii) Engage in other activities that the school determines will encourage a parent to participate as a full partner in the decisions that affect his or her child and family;
(A) Recognize that community resources strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning.
(B) To take advantage of community resources, the school shall:
(i) Consider recruiting alumni from the school to create an alumni advisory commission to provide advice and guidance for school improvement;
(a) Enable the formation of a parent-teacher association or organization that will foster parental and community involvement within the school.
(b) Leaders of this organization shall be utilized in appropriate decisions affecting the children and families; and
(iii) Engage in other activities that the school determines will use community resources to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning; and
(9) Support the development, implementation, and regular evaluation of the program to involve parents in the decisions and practices of the school district, using, to the degree possible, the components listed in this section.
(1) The principal of each school in a school district shall designate one (1) licensed staff member who is willing to serve as a parent facilitator to:
(A) Help organize meaningful training for staff and parents;
(B) Promote and encourage a welcoming atmosphere to foster parental involvement in the school; and
(C) Undertake efforts to ensure that parental participation is recognized as an asset to the school.
(2) The licensed staff member serving as a parental facilitator shall receive supplemental pay for the assigned duties as required by law.
(a) The State Board of Education is authorized to provide supervision, accreditation, and other services essential to the development of desirable educational programs for children at the elementary and secondary levels who are residents in institutions under the control of a public board or commission.
(b) The State Board of Education at its discretion may enter into formal contracts or other agreements with publicly controlled institutions or with local school district boards for the purpose of serving the educational needs of children resident in such institutions or local school districts.
(c) The State Board of Education is authorized to take any and all action necessary to qualify children resident in such institutions or school districts for all benefits available under the provisions of Pub. L. No. 89-10, as amended by Pub. L. No. 89-313 and Pub. L. No. 89-750.
(d) Authorizations contained in this section shall include any subsequent amendments which may be enacted by the United States Congress, provided the amendments are not in conflict with the Arkansas Constitution or statutes of the State of Arkansas.
(a) A “county seat” shall be defined as the principal site for the conducting of county affairs and maintaining records of the various courts.
(b) Nothing in this section, however, shall be construed as a limitation on a county to maintain several sites throughout the county for the conducting of county affairs.
(a) Unless for the purpose of the temporary location of county seats in the formation of new counties, it shall be unlawful to establish or change any county seat in this state without the consent of a majority of the qualified voters of the county to be affected by the change; nor will a county seat be located until the place at which it is proposed to establish or change any county seat shall be fully designated, with the designation embracing a complete and intelligible description of the proposed locations, together with an abstract of the title thereto, and the terms and conditions upon which it can be purchased or donated by or to the county.
(b) The county court shall not order the election provided in this subchapter unless it shall be satisfied that a good and valid title can and will be made to the proposed new locations or one (1) of them.
(a) As provided by Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 55, § 1, Part (a), a county government, acting through its county quorum court, may exercise local legislative authority not expressly prohibited by the Arkansas Constitution or by law for the affairs of the county.
(b) These powers include, but are not limited to, the power to:
(1) Levy taxes in a manner prescribed by law;
(2) Appropriate public funds for the expenses of the county in a manner prescribed by ordinance;
(3) Preserve peace and order and secure freedom from dangerous or noxious activities. However, no act may be declared a felony;
(4) For any public purpose, contract or join with any other county, with any political subdivision, or with the federal government;
(5) Create, consolidate, separate, revise, or abandon any elected office, except during the term thereof, if a majority of those voting on the question at a general election have approved the action;
(6) Fix the number and compensation of deputies and county employees;
(7) Fix the compensation of each county officer within a minimum and maximum to be determined by law;
(8) Fill vacancies in elected county offices;
(9) Have the power to override the veto of the county judge by a vote of three-fifths (⅗) of the total membership of the quorum court;
(10) Provide for any service or performance of any function relating to county affairs;
(11) Impose a special assessment reasonably related to the cost of any special service or special benefit provided by county government or impose a fee for the provisions of a service;
(12) Provide for its own organization and management of its affairs; and
(13) Exercise other powers, not inconsistent with law, necessary for effective administration of authorized services and functions.
(a) Any number of persons, the multiple of three (3), not less than six (6) nor more than thirty-three (33), who have associated or shall associate, according to the provisions of this chapter, under any name assumed by them, for the purpose of founding or maintaining any institution of learning, and who shall comply with the provisions of this chapter, shall, with their successors, constitute a body corporate under the name assumed by them in their articles of association.
(b) The name so assumed shall not be the same as that of any other educational institution in the state.
: (a) The purpose for which every such corporation shall be established shall be distinctly specified in its articles of association.
(b) It shall not be lawful for the corporation to divert or appropriate its funds or property for any other purpose unless authorized to do so by the person, conference, convention, association, synod, or other body under whose auspices the institution may have been established or for whose benefit it may be maintained, or by which it may be controlled.
(a) Unless otherwise provided in its charter or by the governing body of the church or denomination under whose control the institution is organized and maintained, the corporation thus formed shall:
(1) Have perpetual succession;
(2) Be empowered to fill all vacancies occurring in the corporation by removal, death, resignation, or expiration of term of office;
(3) Have power to sue and be sued, to contract and be contracted with, to make and to use a common seal and to alter it at pleasure;
(4) Have power to buy and to sell real and personal property and to take by gift, conveyance, devise, or bequest real and personal property, and to hold them;
(5) Have power to enter into cooperative relations with other educational institutions for the establishment and maintenance of such departments or schools as they may agree to correlate; and
(6) Have power to make rules for the government of such departments or schools as they may deem proper.
(b) The board of trustees of the corporation:
(1) Shall be charged with the government of the institutions established by its agency and the appointment of all officers and instructors therefor and the compensation of them; and
(2) May delegate their powers of government to the president and faculty of any such institutions or to an executive committee composed of three (3) or more of its members.
The Auditor of State shall have power to administer oaths required or allowed by law in all matters touching the duties of his or her office.
The Secretary of State, before he or she enters upon the discharge of his or her duties, shall enter into bond, with good and sufficient security to the Governor and his or her successors in office, in the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000). The bond shall be approved by the Governor and conditioned that the Secretary of State will well and truly perform and discharge the several trusts and duties of Secretary of State and in all things touching and concerning the office shall well, truly, and faithfully execute and perform them. This bond shall be filed with the Auditor of State.
(a) Immediately after his or her election, the Auditor of State shall execute and deliver to the Governor a bond to the State of Arkansas, with good and sufficient securities, in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), conditioned for the faithful performance of all the duties required, or which may be required, of him or her by law.
(b) The Governor shall endorse on the bond of the Auditor of State his or her approval of the bond, stating the time of approval, and deliver the endorsed bond to the Secretary of State, who shall file it among the records of his or her office.
(c) If any Auditor of State shall neglect or refuse to enter into bond within ten (10) days after the Governor is officially informed of his or her election, then the Office of Auditor of State shall be deemed and considered vacant.
On April 8 the Arkansas Senate approved the enactment of House Bill 1763. The so-called “monster bill” reorganizes the whole state government of Arkansas, and reduces the number of state departments.
The purpose of the bill is to achieve greater efficiency in the workings of the state administration, as well as savings. To achieve such efficiency, the bill introduces requirements for public official surety bonds on some government levels and eliminates them on others.
In Arkansas, a new bill titled HB1763 requires all cabinet-level department secretaries to post a $10,000 surety Bond to secure the faithful performance of their duties.
The new law consolidates several agencies so that some public official bonds will be eliminated, including the $10,000 Bond Requirement for the Executive Director of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, the $25,000 bond requirement for the State Forester, the $10,000 bond requirement for the Director of the Department of Parks and Tourism, the bond required for the State Forester’s assistants who disburse funds, the bond required for the Secretary-treasurer of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board, the bond requirement for employees of the Arkansas Motor Vehicle Commission, and the fidelity bond required for the employees of the Bank Commissioner.
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