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NO. 108. AN ACT TO CLARIFY AND COORDINATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROCEDURES.

(H.825)

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

Sec. 1. 16 V.S.A. § 212 is amended to read:

§ 212. COMMISSIONER’S DUTIES GENERALLY

The commissioner shall execute those policies adopted by the state board in the legal exercise of its powers and shall:

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(9) Establish requirements for information to be submitted *[to him]* by school districts, including *[such]* necessary statistical data and other information *[as he may require]*. The commissioner shall ensure, to the extent possible, that any data which is used to determine financial aid shall be reported in a uniform way.

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Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 2963a(a)(2) is amended to read:

(2) the costs incurred by the school district in placing and maintaining a*[ resident student in the Austine School for the Deaf]* student in a program operated by the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. However, such expenditures do not include costs incurred for up to two such students by a school district with an average daily membership of fewer than 1,000 and for up to three such students by a school district with an average daily membership of 1,000 or greater.

Sec. 3. 16 V.S.A. § 4011 is amended to read:

§ 4011. GENERAL STATE SUPPORT GRANTS

(a) Annually, the general assembly shall appropriate funds to pay for a general state support grant for each equalized pupil and a portion of a general state support grant for each adult diploma student.

(b) Annually, each school district shall receive a general state support grant for support of basic education costs. Funds distributed under this section shall be allocated on the basis of the equalized pupils in each school district. However, no school district shall receive more than its local education spending amount.

(c) *[If a school district provides for the education of its students by paying tuition, at the end of the school year the commissioner shall, for each student, subtract the amount of actual tuition paid from the actual general state support grant amount received per full-time equivalent student in that district in that year. If the amount of the tuition is less than the general state support grant amount, the commissioner shall subtract the difference from the general state support grant paid the following September. However, a district school board may submit an accounting of other allowable actual costs for each student for whom it paid tuition and the commissioner shall add these to the amount of actual tuition paid which is subtracted from the general state support grant. The state board shall define allowable actual costs by rule.]*

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(g) On or before December 15, the commissioner shall recommend to the general assembly an appropriate level of general state support grants to school districts for the next ensuing school year.

Sec. 4. 16 V.S.A. § 4027(e) is amended to read:

(e) Annually, on or before June 1, each *[school district]* superintendent shall report to the *[commissioner its]* department of education, on a form prescribed by the commissioner, each local education budget adopted for the following fiscal year *[on a form prescribed by the commissioner]* by the member districts of the supervisory union.

Sec. 5. 16 V.S.A. § 4030 is added to read:

§ 4030. DATA SUBMISSION; CORRECTIONS

(a) Upon discovering an error in data submitted to the commissioner for the purpose of determining payments to or from the education fund, a school district shall report the error to the commissioner as soon as possible. In this subsection, an error in data is a clerical mistake. A change in data due to new information or a change in situation is not an error under this subsection, and any resultant budget deficit or surplus shall be carried forward to the following year. A ruling of the commissioner as to whether a change in data is due to error or to new information or a change in situation shall be final.

(b) The commissioner shall use data submitted on or before January 15 prior to the fiscal year which begins the following July 1, in order to calculate the amounts due each school district for any fiscal year for the following:

(1) the general state support grant due under section 4011 of this title;

(2) transportation aid due under Sec. 98 of Act No. 71 of 1998; and

(3) the small school support grant due under section 4015 of this title.

(c) The commissioner shall use data corrections regarding local education budget amounts submitted on or before June 15 prior to the fiscal year which begins the following July 1, in order to calculate the amounts due each school district under section 4027 of this title.

(d) Errors in data submitted to the commissioner following the dates required for calculations under subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be used to adjust payments to or from the education fund in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the error was reported. The commissioner shall not use data corrected due to an error submitted following the deadlines to recalculate the equalized pupil ratio under subdivision 4001(3) of this title, or the equalized yield under section 4027 of this title in any year. The commissioner shall not adjust payments to or from the education fund if an error is reported more than three fiscal years following the date that the original data was due. Adjustments to payments to or from the education fund under this section shall be made on the earliest date possible after the fiscal year in which the error was reported, and in accordance with the schedules set forth in subsections 4028(a), 428(d) and 511(d) of this title and after the necessary appropriation by the general assembly.

(e) The board may adopt rules as necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE

(a) Sec. 2 of this act shall be effective for school year 1999-2000.

(b) The remainder of this act shall take effect on passage.

Approved: May 10, 2000