Relating to the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County; establishing the Lewis Spratt Act; providing for the election and operation of the board of education for the City of Birmingham; providing that the members of the board shall be elected from defined districts; providing for the selection of a chair and vice chair; providing for the terms of office, qualifications, and compensation of the members; prescribing procedures for electing the members and for filling vacancies on the board; and providing certain transitional provisions.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Lewis Spratt Act."
Section 2. An elected board of education for the City of Birmingham is established. The board shall be called "The Birmingham City Board of Education." The board shall be composed of nine members, with one member being elected from each of the nine city council districts by a majority of the qualified electors voting who reside in the district.
Section 3. A member shall reside in the district which the member represents during the entire term of office. If the boundaries of a city council district change, the corresponding board of education district shall automatically change accordingly for the next election of the city board of education. If redistricting places an incumbent board member outside of his or her district, the member shall nevertheless continue to serve the remainder of the term to which he or she was elected or appointed.
Section 4. A candidate for each place on the board of education shall be at least 18 years of age, a resident of the board of education district which he or she seeks to represent on the board for at least 90 consecutive days immediately preceding the deadline date for qualifying as a candidate, shall be a qualified elector, and shall not have a record of conviction for any crime involving moral turpitude, including any crime involving fraud or financial wrongdoing. The qualification fee for the initial election of the members of the board shall be one hundred dollars ($100) for each candidate. Thereafter, each candidate shall pay a qualifying fee not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) as prescribed by the Birmingham City Council. The qualifying fee shall be credited to the city general fund.
Section 5. (a) The Birmingham Board of Education shall take necessary steps to ensure that this act complies with the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended.
(b) The election of the initial board of education shall be held on the second Tuesday of August 2002, and a run off election, if needed, shall be held three weeks following the first election.
(c) The initial election and the initial runoff election, if necessary, and all subsequent elections held pursuant to this act shall be conducted, the vote canvassed, and the results declared in the same manner as provided for the election of members of the city council, unless otherwise required in this act.
(d) The initial elected members of the board of education shall assume office immediately upon the certification of the election results and shall serve initial terms of office which shall expire at the same prescribed time as the expiration of the corresponding terms of office of the then current city council members. Thereafter, all members of the board shall be elected at the same time, in the same manner, assume office at the same time, and serve the same term of office as the members of the Birmingham City Council.
Section 6. (a) Upon the assumption of office of the initially elected members of the board of education, the Birmingham City Board of Education as provided in this act shall be constituted and the terms, powers, duties, responsibilities, and emoluments of office of the prior members of the board of education shall end.
(b)(1) Upon assumption of office of the initial elected members of the board of education, these members shall have the powers, authority, duties, and responsibilities as are otherwise provided by law for members of city boards of education as set forth in Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 16-11-1) of Title 16 of the Code of Alabama 1975.
(2) At the first meeting after the board takes office, and every term thereafter, the board shall by majority vote of those voting, select a chair and vice chair from among its members. The vice chair shall preside over meetings of the board in the absence of the chair.
(3) All property, records, supplies, and equipment of the prior board of education shall be vested in the board created by this act.
(c) The establishment of the board of education as provided in this act shall not affect or impair any of the following:
(1) Existing rights or privileges of employees of the board including, but not limited to, employment, personnel, salary, and retirement rights and privileges.
(2) Existing contractual obligations of the board of education.
(3) Existing civil and criminal actions.
Section 7. A vacancy on the board of education shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the remaining members of the board of education for the unexpired term. If the vacancy is not filled by the remaining members of the board of education within 30 days, the chair, or the vice chair in the absence of the chair, shall notify the Birmingham City Council which shall fill the vacancy by appointment by a majority of the members of the city council for the unexpired term. If the vacancy is not filled by the city council within 30 days after notification, the local superintendent of education shall notify the State Superintendent of Education who shall fill the vacancy by appointment for the unexpired term. A person filling a vacancy on the board of education shall reside in the district which the vacating member represented. The provisions of Section 6 apply only when one year or less remains in the unexpired term. Otherwise a special election shall be called as provided by state law.
Section 8. The compensation for each member of the board of education shall be three hundred dollars ($300) per month payable from city school system funds.
Section 9. The Examiners of Public Accounts shall conduct an annual audit of the financial records of the city school system and of the board of education. The audit results shall be made a matter of public record. All monies of the school system shall be accounted for whether reserved for capital outlay or held for any other purpose.
Section 10. The chair of the board shall have all of the following duties:
(1) To preside over all board meetings.
(2) To set the meeting dates and times of all board meetings consistent with state law.
(3) To set the agenda of the board meetings in consultation with the city superintendent of education.
(4) To ensure proper and adequate notice to the public for public hearings on the budget of the school system.
(5) To maintain order at all board meetings.
(6) To assist the superintendent in seeking public input into the operation and support of the city school system.
(7) To vote on all matters which come before the board if he or she so desires.
(8) To ensure due process for the employees of the city school system according to duly adopted written policies and applicable state laws.
(9) To promote the city school system as authorized by the board.
Section 11. All laws or parts of laws which conflict with this act are repealed.
Section 12. The provisions of this act are severable. If any part of this act is declared invalid or unconstitutional, that declaration shall not affect the part which remains.
Section 13. This act shall become effective immediately upon its passage and approval by the Governor, or upon its otherwise becoming law.