Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 40 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 4E, as appearing in the 1984 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4E. Pursuant to the provisions hereof, two or more school committees of cities, towns and regional school districts may enter into a written agreement to conduct education programs and services which shall complement and strengthen the school programs of member school committees and increase educational opportunities for children. The school committees shall collaborate to offer such programs and services, and the association of school committees which is formed pursuant hereof to deliver such programs and services shall be known as an education collaborative.
The education collaborative shall be managed by a board of directors which shall be comprised of one person appointed by each member school committee. Such person shall be either a school committee member or his designee or the superintendent of schools or his designee. Members of said board of directors shall be entitled to a vote according to the terms of the education collaborative agreement. The department of education shall appoint an individual to serve in an advisory capacity to the education collaborative board. Said individual shall not be entitled to vote on any matter which comes before the board of directors of the education collaborative.
The written agreement which shall form the basis of the education collaborative shall set forth the purposes of the program or service, the financial terms and conditions of membership of the education collaborative, the method of termination of the education collaborative and of the withdrawal of member school committees, the procedure for admitting new members and for amending the collaborative agreement, the powers and duties of the board of directors of the education collaborative to operate and manage the education collaborative and any other matter not incompatible with law which the member committees deem advisable. The agreement shall be subject to the approval of the member school committees and the commissioner of education.
Each board of directors of an education collaborative shall establish and manage a trust fund, to be known as an Education Collaborative Trust Fund, and each such fund shall be designated by an appropriate name. All monies contributed by the member municipalities, and all grants or gifts from the federal government, state government, charitable foundations, private corporations, or any other source, shall be paid to the board of directors of the education collaborative and deposited in the aforesaid Fund.
The board of directors of the education collaborative shall appoint a treasurer who may be a treasurer of a city, town or regional school district belonging to such collaborative. Such treasurer shall be authorized, subject to the direction of the board of directors of the education collaborative, to receive and disburse all monies of the trust fund without further appropriation. The treasurer shall give bond annually for the faithful performance of his duties as collaborative treasurer in a form approved by the department of revenue and in such sum, not less than the amount established by said department, as shall be fixed by the board of directors of the education collaborative. The board of directors of the education collaborative in its discretion may pay compensation to the treasurer for his services. No member of the board of directors of the education collaborative shall be eligible to serve as treasurer of said collaborative.
The treasurer of the education collaborative board of directors shall have the authority to make appropriate investments of the monies of the Education Collaborative Trust Fund consistent with the provisions of section fifty-four of chapter forty-four.
The board of directors of the education collaborative shall have the authority to borrow money in anticipation of income for up to ninety days to meet ongoing payroll obligations.
The board of directors of the education collaborative shall have the authority to employ an executive officer who shall serve under the general direction of such board and who shall be responsible for the care and supervision of the education collaborative.
The board of directors of the education collaborative shall be deemed to be a public employer and have the authority to employ personnel, including teachers, to carry out the purposes and functions of the education collaborative. No person shall be eligible for employment by said board of directors as an instructor of children with severe special needs, teacher of children with special needs, teacher, guidance counselor or school psychologist unless such person has been granted a certificate by the board of education under the provisions of section thirty-eight G of chapter seventy-one or section six of chapter seventy-one A or an approval under the regulations promulgated by the board of education under chapter seventy-one B or chapter seventy-four with respect to the type of position for which he seeks employment; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a board of directors of an education collaborative from prescribing additional qualifications. A board of directors of an education collaborative may, upon its request, be exempted by the board of education for any one school year from the requirements of this section to employ certified or approved personnel when compliance therewith would in the opinion of the board constitute a great hardship.
The board of directors of an education collaborative may contract for the purchase of supplies, materials and services and for the leasing of land, buildings and equipment as deemed necessary by such board of directors.
The education collaborative shall be deemed to be a public entity and shall have standing to sue and to be sued to the same extent as a city, town or regional school district.
A school committee of any city, town or regional school district may authorize the prepayment of monies for any educational program or service of the education collaborative, to the treasurer of an education collaborative, and the city, town or regional school district treasurer shall be required to approve and pay such monies in accordance with the authorization of the school committee.
SECTION 2. Chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 71D, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 71D. A school committee of any city, town, or regional school district may authorize the prepayment of tuition for a period not exceeding three months to any approved private school or approved program source which a student is attending under the provisions of chapter seventy-one B, and the city, town or regional school district treasurer shall be required to approve and pay such monies in accordance with the authorization of the school committee.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, no education collaborative agreement between or among the school committees of two or more cities, towns or regional school districts requiring the approval of the department of education, shall be made except under the provisions of this section. Any education collaborative formed under the provisions of section four E of chapter forty of the General Laws shall revise its agreement to conform to the provisions of this section within two years of its passage. Such agreements or any subsequent amendments to collaborative agreements shall be subject to the approval of the commissioner of education.