2010 Tennessee Code
Title 49 - Education
Chapter 2 - Local Administration
Part 5 - Special School Districts
49-2-501 - Abolition of special districts on petition of voters Maximum number of school districts within county.

49-2-501. Abolition of special districts on petition of voters Maximum number of school districts within county.

(a)  (1)  All special school districts that are not taxing districts are abolished.

     (2)  Taxing districts that are not encumbered by debts or bonds may at any time, on ten (10) days' notice, hold an election, and upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the legal voters of such districts, abolish the taxing district or taxing districts and place the school or schools of the district under the management of the county board of education, and the county board shall become the successor of the taxing district board and shall administer the school or schools of the taxing district or districts as other county schools are administered by the board; provided, that the county election commission is so requested by at least twenty-five (25) legal voters of the taxing district; and provided, further, that the election in any taxing district shall be held according to the general method of holding elections as provided by law.

     (3)  Any taxing district having outstanding financial obligations, such as warrants, notes or bonds for building, equipment or other improvement, may at any time after the discharge of the obligations become a part of the county system of public schools as provided in this section for taxing districts not encumbered by debts.

(b)  (1)  (A)  In counties with a population of twenty-five thousand (25,000) or less, according to the 1980 federal census, there shall be no more than three (3) school districts, including the county system and all city or special school districts.

          (B)  In counties with a population of more than twenty-five thousand (25,000), according to the 1980 federal census, there shall be no more than six (6) school districts, including the county system and all city or special school districts.

     (2)  (A)  As of April 30, 1982, all special school districts in the counties affected by this section that are not currently operating schools or that do not have outstanding bonded indebtedness are abolished. Any special school district that is not recorded with the department of education as currently operating schools must prove to the satisfaction of the commissioner that it is operating a school system or has outstanding bonded indebtedness incurred prior to April 30, 1982.

          (B)  Special school districts in the counties affected by this section that are not operating schools, but that have outstanding bonded indebtedness, are abolished upon repayment of the indebtedness.

          (C)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, in those counties in which all students in grades kindergarten through twelve (K-12) are eligible to be served by city and special school systems, the county shall not be required to operate a separate county school system, nor shall it be necessary that a county school board be elected or otherwise constituted.

     (3)  No additional special school districts may be created after April 30, 1982, but existing operating districts may merge or consolidate. This shall not affect the powers of cities under part 4 of this chapter if the county in which the city is located has fewer districts than those permitted in subdivision (b)(1).

     (4)  Any operating districts in a county in excess of the number permitted in subdivision (b)(1) are abolished on July 1, 1983, and shall be consolidated into not more than the permitted number of districts by July 1, 1983. This consolidation shall be accomplished in the following manner:

          (A)  The districts that continue to operate in each county shall be the three (3) or six (6) largest, as applicable, in each county as of January 1, 1982, as determined from the average daily attendance figures previously submitted to the commissioner of education for the 1981-1982 school year;

          (B)  (i)  Any other district in a county may merge with any contiguous system that will continue to operate under subdivision (b)(4)(A). The merger shall occur no later than July 1, 1983, and shall be accomplished by majority vote of the board of education of the system to be abolished. The merger shall not be effective unless the board of education of the system with which merger is sought approves the merger by a majority vote of the board, and unless the city governing body by a majority vote approves the merger in the case of a merger with a city school system;

                (ii)  If a district that will be abolished on July 1, 1983, has not merged into a continuing system by July 1, 1983, it shall be merged into the county system on that date;

          (C)  The continuing system that acquires an abolished district by merger shall succeed to all funds, property and liabilities of the abolished district, specifically including repayment of all bonded indebtedness;

          (D)  Any tax for current operation levied by a special school district abolished under this section shall, until the repeal of the private act authorizing such tax, be collected and turned over to the successor school system for the use and benefit of the schools formerly operated by the special school district;

          (E)  Any city government that continues to levy a current operation school tax for the benefit of a school system abolished by this subsection (b) is authorized to turn such tax receipts over to the successor school system for the use and benefit of the schools formerly operated by the city;

          (F)  This section shall not be construed to rescind, impair or affect any contracts in effect April 30, 1982, dealing with the operation or organization of schools in any affected county; and

          (G)  Rights and privileges of teachers in districts merged, abolished, or consolidated pursuant to this section shall be protected as provided in § 49-5-203 and nothing in this section shall be construed to change or repeal § 49-5-203.

     (5)  Elementary schools operated by any school system abolished under this subsection (b) shall continue to be operated as elementary schools by the successor system following the abolishment of any system under this part; provided, that this shall not be construed to require the continuance of such schools if they should be destroyed or become unusable because of fire or safety violations or should fail to meet the minimum standards of the state board of education.

     (6)  The county board of education of any county affected by this subsection (b) shall include persons representing and residing in the area served by every school district that is abolished under this part in the same percentage that such districts relate to the total number of public school systems in such county.

     (7)  In the event of consolidation of districts in accordance with this subsection (b), the consolidated system shall continue to operate grades kindergarten through eight (K-8) by local instruction in local school buildings. This subdivision (b)(7) shall only apply to counties having a population of not less than fourteen thousand nine hundred forty (14,940) nor more than fifteen thousand (15,000), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census.

(c)  In any county affected by subsection (b), the authority of the boards of education or municipal governments to rescind or withdraw from any contract in effect on February 1, 1982, relative to the operation of high schools as defined in § 49-6-401 or waiving their rights to high school bond proceeds, or waiving their share of proceeds of sales taxes levied to liquidate debts incurred for high schools, is removed. High schools in districts abolished by subsection (b) shall continue to be operated by their respective boards of education until abolition.

[Acts 1925, ch. 115, § 33; Shan. Supp., § 1487a191; Code 1932, § 2514; Acts 1982, ch. 907, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 49-402; Acts 1984, ch. 980, § 1; 2002, ch. 770, § 2.]  
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