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NO. 10. AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AID FOR COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOLS.

(H.434)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 16 V.S.A. § 1531(b) is amended to read:

(b) In order to provide regional technical education services efficiently, the state board shall designate a service region for each technical center. However, the board may designate a service region for two or more comprehensive high schools if that region is not served by a technical center. *[In this case, a public comprehensive high school shall become a technical center for purposes of this chapter, with restrictions on application of the provisions of section 1565 of this title pursuant to subdivision (4) of this subsection, and the technical education program of an independent comprehensive high school shall become a technical center for purposes of the following:]*

*[(1) Subchapters 2, 3 and 4, excepting section 1552, of this chapter. For purposes of these subchapters, when referring to an independent comprehensive high school, a school board also includes an independent school board of trustees.]* *[(2) Subsection 824(b) of this title.]* *[(3) Subsection 1561(c) and sections 1563 and 1564 of this title. For purposes of the sections and subsection cited in this subdivision, when referring to an independent comprehensive school, a school district or a receiving district also includes an independent school board of trustees.]* *[(4) Section 1565 of this title. However, a public or independent comprehensive high school may receive reimbursement under section 1565 only if it offers five or more state approved technical education courses of study.]*

Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 1546 is added to read:

§ 1546. COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOLS

(a) In the sections referenced in this section, when applied to an independent comprehensive high school, "school board" or "school district" means "the school's board of trustees".

(b) A comprehensive high school shall charge and receive tuition pursuant to section 824 of this title. A comprehensive high school shall be a technical center for the purposes of receiving funding for grants per full-time equivalent student under 16 V.S.A. § 1561, for tryout classes under 16 V.S.A. § 1562, for equipment replacement under 16 V.S.A. § 1564, for incentive grants under 16 V.S.A. § 1566, and for reporting requirements under 16 V.S.A. § 1568 except that a comprehensive high school need not report direct and overhead costs. Funds received under this section shall be used for support of technical education programs within the comprehensive high school.

(c) In addition, two or more comprehensive high schools for which the state board has designated a service region shall be a technical center for the purposes of accountability to the state board of education under subchapter 2 of this chapter, responsibilities of the technical center under subchapter 3 of this chapter, and receiving state financial assistance under subchapter 5, excluding the per equalized pupil general state support grant under subsection 1561(b), of this chapter. The regional advisory board shall determine how funds received under subchapter 5 shall be distributed. A comprehensive high school aggrieved by a decision of the board may appeal to the commissioner who, after opportunity for hearing, may affirm or modify the decision.

Sec. 3. 16 V.S.A. § 1567 is amended to read:

§ 1567. OVERHEAD COSTS

(a) In addition to tuition assistance provided under section 1561 of this title, assistance shall be paid to receiving districts in the amount of the overhead costs calculated in accordance with this chapter for the school year two years prior to the year of payment.

(b) In the case of two or more comprehensive high schools which have been designated a service region, the commissioner shall pay the statewide average overhead cost as defined by the state board by rule. Other comprehensive high schools shall not receive overhead assistance.

Sec. 4. 16 V.S.A. § 1568 is amended to read:

§ 1568. REPORTING OF INFORMATION

(a) Annually, in accordance with a time line, format and process established by the state board by rule, each technical center shall report its direct and overhead costs and student enrollment, achievement and performance measures to the commissioner. Technical center financial accounts shall be kept separately from those of the host high school in accordance with rules adopted by the state board which shall establish clear delineation of relevant costs and revenues.

(b) If a technical center fails to file financial or student information required under this section within the time lines established by rule of the state board, the commissioner may withhold funds due under this chapter and shall subtract $100.00 per business day from funds due the center under this chapter. The commissioner may waive the $100.00 penalty upon appeal by the center for good cause.

Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATES

This act shall take effect for school year 1999-2000, except that two or more comprehensive high schools which have been designated a service region shall not receive overhead costs until fiscal year 2001.

Approved: May 3, 1999