June 9, 1994
Hon. Kevin M. Noland
General Counsel, Office of Legal Services, Department of Education
Capital Plaza Tower
500 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Dear Mr. Noland:
As General Counsel for the Kentucky Department of Education, you have asked our office a question regarding Senate Bill 51 which amends KRS 160.345 relating to special elections for minority school council members.
Senate Bill 51 amends KRS 160.345(2)(b) to state:
(2)(b)(2) School councils in schools having eight percent (8%) or more minority students enrolled, as determined by the enrollment on the preceding October 1, shall have at least one (1) minority member. If the council formed under paragraph (a) of this subsection does not have a minority member, the principal, in a timely manner, shall be responsible for carrying out the following:
(a) Organizing a special election to elect an additional member. The principal shall call for nominations and shall notify the parents of the minority students of the date, time, and location of the election to elect a minority parent to the council by ballot; and
(b) Allowing the minority teachers in the building to select one (1) of their number to serve as a teacher member on the council. If there are no minority teachers who are members of the faculty, an additional teacher member shall be elected by a majority of all teachers. Term limitations shall not apply for a minority teacher member who is the only minority on faculty.
Senate Bill 51 becomes effective July 15, 1994, and relates to school-based decision making. Pursuant to this amendment, schools in Kentucky with 8% or more minority students shall have at least one minority member on the school council. You have asked our office for a clarification as to the date schools should implement the mandate as to special elections for a minority members. In your letter, you state:
One interpretation could be that Senate Bill 51 encourages all school councils to elect minority members to the school councils, and Senate Bill 51 applies to the first regular election of school council members occurring after the effective date of the bill, July 15, 1994. If the school has eight percent or more minority students enrolled, and that first regular election does not result in election of at least one minority member, then the bill mandates minority inclusion, and participation through a special election for minority members, both a minority parent and a minority teacher.
Another interpretation could be that when Senate Bill 51 becomes effective on July 15, 1994, any schools having eight percent or more minority students enrolled and having school councils which do not have minority members on that date, are required to immediately have a special election to elect a minority parent and a minority teacher to the school council, even if the first regular election after the effective date of Senate Bill 51 is not until some time later.
The Office of the Attorney General believes that your latter interpretation is correct and that when Senate Bill 51 becomes effective on July 15, 1994, schools fitting the criteria set forth in Senate Bill 51 are required to have elections of minority members in a timely manner. Normally, legislation enacted during the General Session becomes law 90 days after the General Assembly adjourns and in this instance that date is July 15, 1994. There is no indication in this statute of an intent to defer implementation of this minority member mandate until the regular school council elections of 1995.
To summarize, we believe that the provisions of Senate Bill 51 take effect immediately and the principal should promptly determine whether the school has 8% or more minority students as determined by the enrollment on the preceding October 1, in this case, October 1, 1993. If the school falls within the mandate of Senate Bill 51 then the principal should timely organize the special elections to elect an additional minority member. Since Senate Bill 51 takes effect on July 15, 1994, which is in the middle of the summer, we believe it would be reasonable for the special elections to be held during the first four weeks of the school year. This reasonable time period will allow the school ample time to notify the parents of the minority students of the date, time, and location of the election. The minority teacher election required by Senate Bill 51 should occur during a similar time frame.
The parent and teacher members elected in these initial special elections would serve as a council member until the next regular school council members are elected and sworn into office. Thus, the parents or teachers would have an opportunity to elect a minority member during the regularly scheduled elections.
Assistant Attorney General