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      RS 17:7.3     

  

§7.3.  Continuing education programs for teachers; reimbursement to public and nonpublic colleges and universities for tuition costs; rules and regulations; reporting; repayment for noncompletion of courses; services rendered

A.(1)  The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a program or programs of continuing education for degreed classroom teachers in state-approved elementary and secondary schools.  Such rules and regulations shall include provisions under which a teacher may continue his education at a public college or university in this state, at Centenary College, Dillard University, Louisiana College, Loyola University, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Tulane University, including Tulane Medical School, Xavier University, or at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center for the purpose of taking one or more courses of instruction in his field or discipline and under which the teacher shall be exempt from the payment of tuition imposed by or applicable to the college or university he attends; however, the amount paid by the state for any tuition imposed by or applicable to the nonpublic college shall be equal to but not greater than the highest tuition charged by a public college or university in this state. In no case may state funds be used toward tuition for courses in theology or divinity.

(2)  For purposes of this Section, "course of instruction in his field or discipline" shall include:

(a)  Additional graduate or undergraduate courses in either the applicant's area of certification or job assignment.

(b)  Additional graduate or undergraduate courses in pursuit of another area of certification required by job assignment or in an area where there is a critical teacher shortage, as approved in writing by the superintendent of any city or parish school system.

(c)  Graduate courses in pursuit of a master's, specialist, or doctoral degree in the applicant's area of certification or job assignment.

(d)  Any coursework required of an applicant as a result of an unsatisfactory evaluation pursuant to direction from his employing school board.

(3)  Tuition exemptions shall be limited to the amount of tuition assessed for on campus courses.  For purposes of this Section, "tuition" is defined as registration fee and building use fee per semester hour.  No student shall be allowed to participate in this program outside the geographical boundaries of the state of Louisiana, except for the study of foreign languages abroad when such study is pursued through a Louisiana college or university specified in this Section, as provided by regulation.

(4)  All such rules and regulations shall be promulgated pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

B.(1)  The state superintendent of education shall, at the beginning of each semester, pay to each college and university listed in R.S. 17:7.3(A) an amount equal to one-half of the amount of tuition assessed by the college or university for teachers enrolled in the program.

(2)  Funds for the repayment to the colleges and universities shall come from monies appropriated or otherwise made available for this purpose.

(3)  Such payments shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this Section and in accordance with any rules and regulations adopted by the board to effectuate the provisions of this Section.

(4)  The state superintendent of education shall annually submit a report to the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education relative to any program or programs for continuing education for teachers established pursuant to this Section.  Such report shall include but not be limited to the following:

(a)  The number of persons applying for such education.

(b)  The number of persons receiving such education.

(c)  The educational background and work experiences of such persons.

(d)  The types of courses pursued under such programs.

(e)  The amount of reimbursements paid by the Department of Education under such program or programs.

C.(1)  Each participating teacher shall present a written plan to the Department of Education and receive approval based on the rules adopted pursuant to Subsection A of this Section before entering the program.  The Department of Education shall review each plan and approve it and shall also approve each course for which the participating teacher seeks reimbursement under the program, before reimbursement is made for the participating teacher's tuition.  At or prior to registration, any teacher participating in the program or programs established pursuant to this Section shall be required to enter into a written agreement with the state superintendent of education obligating the teacher to reimburse the state superintendent of education for all or any part of the tuition costs paid on behalf of the teacher as provided in Subsection B of this Section, together with the cost of collection in the event the teacher fails to make timely reimbursement.  Such reimbursement shall be required for applicants found to be ineligible and for courses not completed as provided in Subsection D of this Section and shall be made as provided in Subsection D of this Section.  Each course taken by a participating teacher shall be successfully completed at the end of the semester or quarter in which the course was taken.

(2)(a)  Each participating teacher shall render a semester of service as a classroom teacher in any state approved elementary or secondary school for each semester or quarter successfully completed under the provisions of the program provided by this Section.

(b)  Failure to comply with the provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph shall obligate a participating teacher to reimburse the state superintendent of education for all of the tuition costs paid on behalf of the teacher together with the cost of collection in the event the individual fails to make timely reimbursement.  The attorney general, on behalf of the state superintendent of education, shall collect all such obligations which are not timely paid.

(c)  The board shall adopt rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Paragraph.  Such rules and regulations shall include but not be limited to a procedure by which the reimbursement required by this Paragraph shall be accomplished and a provision exempting a participating teacher from the requirements of this Paragraph upon such teacher providing documented evidence that failure to comply is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the teacher.

D.(1)  Except as provided in the rules and regulations of the board, whenever any teacher participating in the continuing education program is found to be ineligible or drops a course after the deadline for obtaining a full or partial tuition refund from the college or university, or otherwise fails to successfully complete a course, that teacher shall, as provided in Subsection C of this Section, reimburse the state superintendent of education for any monies allocated to that course and paid in his behalf pursuant to this Section which are not otherwise reimbursed, together with the cost of collection in the event timely reimbursement is not made in accordance with this Section and rules adopted pursuant hereto.  The board shall adopt rules and regulations to establish a procedure by which this reimbursement shall be accomplished.  The attorney general shall collect all such obligations which are not timely paid on behalf of the superintendent of education.

(2)  Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection C and Paragraph D(1) of this Section, whenever any teacher participating in the continuing education program fails to complete a course in his approved plan for any acceptable extenuating circumstance as may be determined by the Department of Education, such teacher shall have an additional sixty days from the end of the semester or quarter in which the course was taken to successfully complete that course before reimbursement for tuition costs may be demanded by the state superintendent of education.

E.  The board shall have authority to adopt, amend, or repeal rules and regulations to fully effectuate the purposes of this Section.

F.  The following persons shall not be eligible to participate in the program described in this Section:

(1)  Any person receiving retirement benefits from a state retirement system.

(2)  Any person owing reimbursement to the state superintendent for monies paid in his behalf under this Section.

(3)  Any person owing reimbursement, as provided in R.S. 17:3621.1, to the state superintendent for monies paid to him for participating in the Louisiana Educational Employees Professional Improvement Program.

Acts 1977, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 20, §1, eff. Aug. 17, 1977; Acts 1978, No. 718, §1, eff. July 13, 1978; Acts 1979, No. 261, §1, eff. July 10, 1979; Acts 1979, No. 302, §1, eff. July 10, 1979; Acts 1980, No. 379, §1, eff. July 18, 1980; Acts 1981, No. 515, §1, eff. July 19, 1981; Acts 1981, No. 817, §1, eff. Aug. 2, 1981; Acts 1982, No. 360, §1, eff. Jan. 20, 1982; Acts 1982, No. 369, §1, eff. July 20, 1982; Acts 1983, 1st Ex.  Sess., No. 44, §1, eff. Jan. 19, 1983; Acts 1986, No. 1010, §1; Acts 1987, No. 868, §1; Acts 1990, No. 596, §1, eff. July 19, 1990; Acts 1990, No. 635, §1; Acts 1990, No. 856, §1, eff. July 24, 1990; Acts 1990, No. 865, §1, eff. July 25, 1990; Acts 1992, No. 964, §1; Acts 1999, No. 802, §1, eff. July 2, 1999.



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