|Memo Number : FIN 00-036
Date Created : 06/09/2000
|Section:   Public School Finance and Admin Support - Ms. Patricia Martin
Suggestions Relative to the 2000 Annual School Election and the 2000-01 Proposed Budget
Ark. Code Ann. 6-13-616, 6-13-622, 6-13-630, 6-14-102, 6-14-106, 6-14-109, 6-14-111, 6-14-118, 6-14-121, 7-5-210, 7-5-30
There are various legal requirements concerning budget publication, school tax rates, and school elections. The following suggestions were designed to aid local school districts in meeting these requirements. Also enclosed are five forms suggested for use in publishing the school district budget.
The tax rate proposed for the 2000 election will be collected during the 2001-02 school year. The proposed budget of estimated expenditures should be for the 2001-02 school year. The current year's budget may be used as a guide for estimating each category of the 2001-02 budget. The following are highlights of various legal requirements:
1. Date of Election - September 19, 2000; hours are continuous from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
(A.C.A. § 7-5-304 and 6-14-102).
2. One hundred and fifty (150) ballots should be printed for each 100 or fraction of 100 electors voting at the last comparable election. (A.C.A. § 7-5-210)
3. The school district shall pay the expenses of the election. (A.C.A. § 6-14-118)
4. If the tax rate proposed in the school election is rejected, the tax rate voted by the district the previous year will continue in effect, unless a debt service millage originally voted as a continuing levy for a bond issue has been paid. Amendment 74 requires a Uniform Rate of Tax. If a district does not meet this requirement or fails to pass an increase, an automatic tax increase will occur.
5. Ballots should be printed before August 28, 2000 so they will be available for absentee voters.
The following is a schedule of dates and activities that are required by various sections of the Annotated Code.
THE DEADLINE FOR PUBLICATION OF THE PROPOSED BUDGET IS JULY 24, 2000
ON OR BEFORE JULY 24:
PREPARE THE 2001-02 PROPOSED BUDGET of estimated expenditures together with a sufficient rate of tax.
SCHOOL BOARD APPROVAL OF BUDGET The proposed 2001-02 budget should be approved by the school board and recorded in the minutes. Some districts may need to seek approval at the June meeting in order to meet the deadline.
PUBLICATION OF BUDGET For fiscal year 2000-01, the 2001-02 budget should be published on or before July 24, 2000, if the publication is in a daily newspaper. If the advertisement is placed in a weekly newspaper, it should be published by the week of July 17, 2000. It has been suggested that the proposed budget be published at least one week prior to the legal deadline to allow for corrections if an error is printed.
The statutory requirement (A.C.A. § 6-13-622) states:
(a) The requirement of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 40, for publication of the budget shall be discharged by the board of directors of each school district by publication of its budget one (1) time in some newspaper published in the county in which the district lies or, if the district lies in more than one (1) county, in the county in which the district is administered.
(b) Such publication shall be made not less than sixty (60) days before the annual school election.
The statutory requirement (A.C.A. § 6-14-102) states:
(a) The annual school election shall be held in each school district of the state on the third Tuesday in September.
(b) The board of directors of any school district shall have the authority to hold the annual school election on a date other than that fixed by law, provided that:
(1) (A) The proposed budget of expenditures for the previous year, as published, incorrectly stated a proposed expenditure or rate of tax levy, as set forth in a certificate or certificates signed by each member of the board of directors, or was not published within the time required by law; or
(B) The district has suffered damage to its physical facilities in an amount exceeding one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000) as a result of fire or other natural disaster and the board of directors has determined that the proceeds of insurance on these facilities will be insufficient to restore or replace the facilities; or
(C) The district will lose state aid because of a court decision or legislation enacted by the General Assembly, and the board of directors takes action to change the date of the annual school election to consider a millage increase no less than sixty (60) days after the court's decision or effective date of the legislation.
ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 7
PETITION FOR CANDIDATE FOR SCHOOL BOARD (A.C.A. § 6-14-111)
(a) The county board of election commissioners shall prepare and furnish ballots and all other necessary supplies for the annual school election.
(b) The county board of election commissioners shall place on the ballots as candidates for the school district director names of any qualified voters whose names have been filed and verified by the county clerk. The county clerk shall certify to the board of election commissioners that the petition contained at least twenty (20) qualified registered voters, residents of the district and respective electoral zone, if directors are elected from zones, at least forty-five (45) days before the annual school election.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR DIRECTORS (A.C.A. § 6-13-616)
(a) Except as provided in subsection (c) [repealed] of this section, no person shall be eligible to be a member of any school district board of directors in this state unless he is a qualified elector of the school district which he serves.
(b) No person who is elected to a school district board of directors shall be eligible for employment in that same school district
ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 11
WRITE-IN CANDIDATES (A.C.A. § 6-14-111)
(c) Votes for a write-in candidate for school district director shall not be counted or tabulated unless not later than forty (40) days before the annual school election the candidate notifies in writing the county board of election commissioners of his or her intention to be a write-in candidate.
PREPARATION OF THE BALLOT The local school board should assist the county board of election commissioners in the preparation of the ballot. Special attention should be given to the following requirements relative to the ballot preparation.
ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 21
1. The ballot format should be checked carefully before it is printed to ensure that the total tax rate is listed on the ballot. The ballot should also list separately the millage to be voted for maintenance and operations, dedicated maintenance and operations, and debt service. If an increase or transfer in maintenance and operations millage is proposed, the incremental increase in the millage should be reflected on the ballot.
2. The ballot should be printed well in advance of the election to allow for corrections in the event there are errors and to provide ballots for absentee voting. (Ballots for absentee voting should be delivered to the county clerk, which is August 28, 2000, twenty-five (25) days before the election.)
3. CAUTION - Special attention should be given to the debt service millage placed on the ballot. The total debt service millage should be no greater than the sum of millages pledged to bond issues that will still be outstanding in the 2001-02 school year.
POLLING PLACES (A.C.A. § 6-14-106)
(a) The county board of election commissioners of each county shall designate all the polling sites for each school district in its respective county, including districts having territory in more than one (1) county but which are domiciled in its county for administrative purposes, and shall provide the election supplies and appoint the election officials for holding all school elections…
(d) The board of directors of each school district shall cause to be published, by at least one (1) insertion in a newspaper with general circulation in the county wherein the school district is located, not more than ten (10) days nor less than three (3) days prior to any school election, a notice identifying the polling site for each ward or precinct. If the polling site for any ward or precinct has changed since the last election, the notice shall indicate the change.
WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS (A.C.A. § 6-13-630)
(a) The board of directors of a school district shall have the authority to provide by resolution adopted by a majority vote that a portion of the board members shall be elected by zone, at large, or a combination thereof. A candidate for a position to be elected by zones shall reside in the zone. The names of the candidates for at-large board positions shall appear upon the ballots throughout the district…..
(d) The board of directors of the school district shall cause the resolution to be published at least thirty (30) days prior to the filing deadline for the next regular school election after the adoption of the resolution.
NOTE: This year the resolution shall be published by August 21, 2000.
ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 31
NOTICE OF SCHOOL ELECTION (A.C.A. § 6-14-109)
(a) The board of directors of each school district shall give notice by advertisement once a week for three (3) weeks of each election to be held within the district, setting out the time, place, and questions to be submitted to the electors at the election.
(b) The advertisement herein provided for shall begin at least twenty (20) days before the date of the school election and shall be in a newspaper either published in or having a bona fide circulation in the county wherein the district is administered.
(c) This provision for notice of school elections shall be the sole requirement for the publication of the notice.
ON OR BEFORE SEPTEMBER 5
ABSENTEE VOTING PROCEDURES The county clerk is the custodian of the absentee ballots and administers the absentee voting procedures. Copies of the official ballot, by law, must be delivered to the county clerk at least fifteen (15) days before the election.
ON OCTOBER 10
RUNOFF ELECTION (A.C.A. § 6-14-121)
(a) (1) Whenever there are more than two (2) candidates for election to any position on a school district board at any election held in this state and whenever no candidate for any district position receives a majority of the votes cast for the office, there shall be a runoff election held in the district.
(2) The names of the two (2) candidates receiving he highest number of votes, but not a majority, shall be placed on the ballot to be voted upon by the qualified electors for that position on a school district board.
(3) The runoff election shall be held three (3) weeks following the date of the election.
(b) The person receiving the majority of the votes cast for the position at the runoff election shall be declared elected.
(c) In the event the two (2) candidates seeking election to the same district position shall receive the same number of votes, a tie shall be deemed to exist. The county board of election commissioners shall determine the winner by lot at an open public meeting and in the presence of the two (2) candidates.
CONSOLIDATION AND ANNEXATION MILLAGE (A.C.A. § 26-80-111)
(a) When a new school district is created from all or parts of two (2) or more districts or a district is dissolved and all or part of the area of the dissolved district is annexed to or consolidated with an existing district, the board of directors of the resulting district shall submit to the electors of the district at the next annual school election a proposed tax millage rate for the district. If the proposed millage rate is approved by the electors of the district, it shall be the rate for the district, provided such rate complies with the uniform rate of tax.
(b) If a new school district is created from all or parts of two (2) or more districts or a district is dissolved and all or part of the area of the dissolved district is annexed to or consolidated with an existing district and if the electors have failed to approve a proposed millage rate at an annual school election, then the millage rate for the district shall be the millage rate levied, at the last school election prior to the consolidation, annexation or merger in the district which had the highest average daily membership during the school year preceding the consolidation, annexation or merger, provided such rate complies with the uniform rate of tax.
DEDICATED MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION MILLAGE (A.C.A. 26-80-110)
(Capital Outlay/Current Expenditures)
(a) (1) In addition to other maintenance and operating millages, the Board of Directors of each local school district is authorized, upon approval of a majority of the qualified voters in the school district voting in the annual school election to levy and collect a tax upon real, personal, and utility property for dedicated maintenance and operation millage for the local school district.
(2) The approved tax shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided by law for other school taxes.
(3) The approved tax may be considered part of the school district's uniform rate of tax as calculated by the State Department of Education under Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 74.
(b) Any funds received from the collection of a dedicated maintenance and operations tax shall only be used for the following purposes:
(1) Purchase of school buses;
(2) Purchase of furniture or equipment to support the instructional program;
(3) Purchase of computer software;
(4) Renovation or repair of existing facilities; or
(5) Repaying revolving loans for any of the purposes previously listed.
(c) (1) Local school districts which have levied a capital outlay tax or current expenditures tax prior to the amendment of this section are authorized to continue such levies for the terms and purposes approved by the majority of voters at the time of their adoption…
(d) Any levy of a dedicated maintenance and operation millage proposed subsequent to the adoption of this section shall be limited as set forth in subsection (b) of this section and, when combined with capital outlay or current expenditure levies approved prior to the adoption of this section and still in effect, shall not exceed five percent (5%) of current expense or three (3) mills, whichever is less.
(e) Any levy of a dedicated maintenance and operation millage must be specified on the ballot, and that specification must list the purpose for which the dedicated maintenance and operation millage is levied.
The following are sample Budgets for each of the following circumstances:
I No Change in Mills
II Transfer of Mills
III New Bond Issue
IV Extending Existing Tax or Increase of Total Millage
V Required increase in Uniform Rate of Tax