TITLE XV
EDUCATION

Chapter 195
COOPERATIVE SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Section 195:1

    195:1 Definitions. –
The terms used in this chapter shall be construed as follows, unless a different meaning is clearly apparent from the language or context:
I. "Cooperative school district" means a district composed of 2 or more school districts of the state associated together under the provisions of this chapter and may include either the elementary schools, the secondary schools, or both.
II. "Elementary school" shall mean all grades from the kindergarten or grade one through grade 6, or kindergarten or grade one through grade 8.
III. "Secondary school" shall mean all grades from grade 7 through grade 12, or grade 9 through grade 12.
IV. "Cooperative school board" shall mean a school board serving a cooperative school district.
V. "Pre-existing district" shall mean a district or portion of a district which is included within the boundaries of a proposed or established cooperative school district.
VI. [Repealed.]
VII. "Commissioner" shall mean commissioner of education.
VIII. "Date of operating responsibility" shall mean the date or dates set in the resolution adopted at the organization meeting or in the articles of agreement adopted by the several school districts on which the cooperative school district shall take over operating control of those schools within such district which it was organized to operate. Wherever the words "establishment" or "date of establishment" appear in this chapter, they shall be given a meaning synonymous with "date of operating control".
IX. "Valuation" shall mean the valuation as determined by the commissioner of revenue administration for debt limits, under the provisions of RSA 33.

Source. 1947, 199:1. 1951, 213:1, par. 1. 1953, 225:1. RSA 195:1. 1955, 334:6. 1963, 258:3. 1973, 544:8. 1986, 41:29, VII, eff. April 3, 1988.

Section 195:2

    195:2 Standards. –
I. (a) It is the purpose of this chapter to increase educational opportunities within the state by encouraging the formation of cooperative school districts which will each:
(1) Be a natural social and economic region.
(2) Have an adequate minimum taxable valuation.
(3) Have a number of pupils sufficient to permit the efficient use of school facilities within the district and to provide improved instruction.
(b) The state board of education shall approve articles of agreement for a proposed cooperative school district, or agreements for the enlargement of a cooperative school district, only after determining that the formation or enlargement of the district will be in accord with such standards and the purposes set forth herein.
II. [Repealed.]
III. Advisory Powers of Board. The board may prepare recommended forms of articles of agreement and existing arrangements for cooperative school districts and may furnish its advisory services to cooperative school district planning boards or school boards who have such matters under consideration.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 2. RSA 195:2. 1963, 258:4. 1979, 459:4. 1996, 158:1, 2, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:3

    195:3 Repealed by 1963, 258:14, eff. July 1, 1963. –

Section 195:4

    195:4 Powers. –
I. During the period from the date of the vote of the organization of any cooperative school district organized prior to July 1, 1963, to the date of operating responsibility such cooperative school district shall have all the authority and privileges of a regular school district for bonding purposes, for the construction of school facilities and for all other necessary functions to obtain proper facilities for the provision of a complete program of education. When necessary the school board of the cooperative school district is authorized to prepare a budget and call a special meeting of the voters of the district for the purpose of adopting the budget and to determine the financial appropriations. Such meeting shall have the same authority as an annual meeting for these purposes.
II. Election of Officers. Every such school district may, as provided in RSA 195:19, adopt a bylaw to specify the number, composition, method of selection, and terms of office of its cooperative school board; provided that its cooperative school board shall consist of an odd number of members, not more than 15 for terms not exceeding 3 years.
III. Checklists. At the meetings held in the preexisting districts for the purpose of accepting the articles of agreement, or any existing arrangements, and at the organization meeting of the cooperative school district the checklist for each preexisting district shall be used. The school board of any preexisting district which does not have a checklist shall make, post, and correct a list of the voters in the district for use at such meetings as supervisors are required to do in regard to the list of voters in their towns. Thereafter the cooperative school board shall make, post, and correct a list of the voters of the cooperative school district acting as supervisors are required to do, except that such list shall indicate with respect to each voter the preexisting district in which the voter is domiciled. Any 2 members of the cooperative school board shall constitute a quorum at sessions for the correction of the checklist. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions whenever each of the preexisting school districts is coextensive with the town in which it is located the cooperative school district may, at an annual cooperative school district meeting, under an article in the warrant for such meeting, vote that the supervisors of each town, acting as the supervisors of the cooperative school district, shall make, post and correct in each preexisting district a checklist of the voters in each preexisting district and shall certify the making, posting, and correction of the checklist acting as supervisors of the cooperative school district. At each annual meeting for the election of officers of the cooperative district the checklists prepared by the supervisors in each preexisting district in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph shall be used and the town supervisors from each preexisting district shall attend such annual meeting. The voters of the cooperative district shall be those whose names appear on the checklists as provided by this paragraph. The supervisors shall be paid such compensation as the district may provide.
IV. For purposes of state-wide supervision a cooperative school district shall be a school district.
V. The members of the cooperative school board shall serve with or without remuneration as the district shall determine, but they shall be paid their necessary expenses while upon official business.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 4. 1953, 225:3. RSA 195:4. 1961, 44:1; 206:2, 3. 1963, 258:2. 1971, 252:2. 1979, 321:3. 1996, 158:3; 222:14. 2003, 289:18, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Section 195:4-a

    195:4-a Repealed by 1996, 158:19, II, eff. July 1, 1996. –

Section 195:5

    195:5 School Board; Powers and Duties. –
The cooperative school board elected at the organization meeting shall organize and take office at the close of such meeting and proceed to assume its responsibilities and duties with respect to the administration and planning of the new cooperative school district; provided, however, that the cooperative board shall have no administrative authority as to the schools in the pre-existing districts until the date of operating responsibility. Thereafter all cooperative school district officers shall assume office at the close of the annual meeting. The cooperative school board shall have the same powers and duties as school boards in school districts as prescribed by RSA 189. Except as provided in this chapter, all the provisions of this chapter or of any other general law relating to or affecting school districts in the state shall apply to cooperative school districts organized as herein provided.
I. Clerk. The cooperative school board shall appoint annually and fix the salary of the district clerk who shall not be a member of the cooperative school board. The district clerk shall serve also as the clerk of the cooperative school board.
II. Treasurer. The treasurer of a cooperative school district shall be appointed by the cooperative school board for one or more terms not to exceed 5 years each, shall not be a member of the cooperative school board, and shall receive for services such sum as the cooperative school board may determine. The treasurer shall, before entering upon the duties of such office, give a bond to the cooperative school district with a surety company authorized to do business within the state in a form approved by the commissioner of revenue administration, and the premium shall be paid by the cooperative school district. The provisions of RSA 21-J:17, applicable to uniform accounting by school districts, shall apply to cooperative school districts.

Source. 1947, 199:4, 5. 1951, 213:1, par. 5. 1953, 225:4. RSA 195:5. 1963, 258:5. 1973, 544:8. 1996, 222:4, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Section 195:6

    195:6 Powers and Duties of Cooperative School Districts. –
I. Each cooperative school district shall be a body corporate and politic with power to sue and be sued, to acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property for the use of schools therein, and to make necessary contracts in relation thereto, and have and possess all the powers and be subject to all the liabilities conferred and imposed upon school districts under the provisions of RSA 194. Whenever a cooperative school district assumes all the functions of a pre-existing district, it shall also assume the outstanding indebtedness and obligations thereof as of the date of operating responsibility; and on such date of operating responsibility the pre-existing districts shall be deemed dissolved, and any and all assets, property and records thereof not previously disposed of shall vest in the cooperative school district, unless otherwise provided in the articles of agreement or existing arrangements.
II. Each cooperative school district shall have the power to borrow money and issue its notes or bonds in conformity with the provisions of RSA 33, provided, however, indebtedness of a cooperative district organized to provide both elementary and secondary schools may be incurred to an amount not to exceed 10 percent of its assessed valuation as last equalized by the commissioner of revenue administration.
III. Whenever only a part of the educational facilities of a local school district are incorporated into a cooperative school district, such local district shall continue in existence and function as previously. The cooperative school district shall assume only those outstanding debts and obligations of the local school district which pertain to the property acquired by the cooperative school district for use by the cooperative school district. In such case no cooperative school district shall for elementary school purposes incur debt to an amount exceeding 5 percent, and for secondary school purposes, if organized for grades 9 through 12, to an amount exceeding 5 percent, and for secondary school purposes if organized for grades 7 through 12, to an amount not exceeding 6 percent of the total assessed valuation of such district as last equalized by the commissioner of revenue administration. No cooperative school district described in this paragraph shall incur indebtedness if it subjects the taxable property of any school district forming a part thereof to debt, when added to the debt of such school district, of more than 10 percent of the total assessed value of such taxable property as last equalized by the commissioner of revenue administration.

Source. 1947, 199:3. 1951, 213:1, par. 6. 1953, 225:5, 6. RSA 195:6. 1955, 334:5, 8. 1957, 126:1, 2. 1959, 209:1, 2. 1963, 258:6. 1973, 544:8. 1996, 158:4, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:7

    195:7 Costs of Capital Outlay and Operation. –
I. If a cooperative school district was organized prior to July 1, 1963, during the first 5 years after the formation of a cooperative school district each preexisting district shall pay its share of all capital outlay costs and operational costs in accordance with either one of the following formulas as determined by a majority vote of the cooperative district meeting:
(a) All such costs shall be apportioned on the basis of the ratio that the equalized valuation of each preexisting district bears to that of the cooperative district; or
(b) One-half of all such costs shall be apportioned on the basis of the ratio that the equalized valuation of each preexisting district bears to that of the cooperative district and 1/2 shall be apportioned on the average daily membership for the preceding year.
(c) Some other formula offered by the cooperative school board with the board's recommendation, adopted by the cooperative school district and approved by the state board of education.
II. Home education pupils who do not receive services from the cooperative school district, except an evaluation pursuant to RSA 193-A:6, II, shall not be included in the average daily membership relative to apportionment formulas.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 7. RSA 195:7. 1955, 334:9. 1959, 195:1. 1961, 206:4. 1996, 158:5; 222:15. 1999, 17:37, eff. April 29, 1999; 281:5, eff. July 16, 1999.

Section 195:8

    195:8 Reconsideration Procedure. – If a cooperative school district was organized prior to July 1, 1963, the basis for the apportionment of all such costs may be subject to review, pursuant to an article for that purpose duly inserted in the warrant for a district meeting to be held at any time after the expiration of the 5-year period measured from the date of the first annual meeting. If the apportionment formula for a cooperative school district has been duly changed, or if an article to continue the current formula has been passed at a district meeting, the basis for the apportionment of all such costs may be subject to review, pursuant to an article for that purpose duly inserted in the warrant for a district meeting to be held at any time after the expiration of the 5-year period measured from the date of the meeting at which the last change was made to the cost apportionment formula or the last article to continue the current formula was passed. In either case, the cooperative school district may then by majority vote elect to apportion all such costs by the adoption of one of the formulas set forth in RSA 195:7, I(a), (b), or (c). Such apportionment may be reviewed in the same manner at any time in order to permit the enlargement of the territory of a school district or an increase in the number of grades for which the district shall be responsible.

Source. 1947, 199:8. 1951, 213:1, par. 8. 1953, 226:8. RSA 195:8. 1955, 334:10. 1959, 195:2. 1961, 206:5. 1963, 258:7. 1996, 158:5; 222:16. 2000, 59:1, eff. June 16, 2000. 2021, 80:1, eff. Aug. 17, 2021.

Section 195:9

    195:9 Taking Over Property. –
I. Whenever a cooperative school district planning board is formed and it is proposed that a cooperative school district is to be established, the properties belonging to the districts that are to be used by the cooperative district shall be separately appraised by a committee to consist of 3 persons. The commissioner of education shall designate one person on the committee, and the commissioner of revenue administration shall designate 2 persons, one of whom shall be a member of or a qualified appraiser employed by the department of revenue administration. A member who is not in the employ of the state shall be paid $25 per day plus actual expenses in the performance of such member's duties. A member who is in the employ of the state shall not be paid extra compensation other than the state salary, but shall be reimbursed for actual expenses in the performance of such member's duties.
II. All expenses incurred in conducting an appraisal by the persons designated by the commissioner of revenue administration including the salaries and expenses of state employees, shall be paid in the first instance from the appropriation for the department of revenue administration. Likewise, the salary and expenses incurred by the person designated by the commissioner of education, including the salaries and expenses of state employees, shall be paid in the first instance from the appropriation for the department of education. The commissioner of revenue administration and the commissioner of education shall report the amount of money paid by them for the appraisal to the cooperative school district planning board. The planning board shall reimburse the department of revenue administration and the department of education for these expenses. If the planning board does not have sufficient funds to make reimbursement, it shall apportion the expenses among the several districts requesting the appraisal. The reimbursements shall be credited to the appropriations for the department of revenue administration and the department of education.
III. The decision of the committee with respect to the appraisal shall be final. Unless otherwise provided in the articles of agreement, at the next annual assessment a tax equivalent to the total appraised value of the property to be used by the cooperative district shall be levied upon the several districts comprising the cooperative school district in the proportion that the equalized valuation of each bears to the equalized valuation of the whole and there shall be remitted to the taxpayers of each pre-existing district the appraised value of its property. Whenever the cooperative school board decides the foregoing adjustment will work a hardship on any one or all of the pre-existing districts, it may, of its own motion, or upon petition of any of the residents of a pre-existing district provide that such adjustment be made over a period of not exceeding 20 years.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 9. RSA 195:9. 1955, 334:11. 1963, 258:8. 1967, 340:1. 1973, 544:11, XXV. 1996, 222:7, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Section 195:9-a

    195:9-a Property Not Taken Over by District. – Whenever a cooperative district is formed and assumes all of the functions of a preexisting school district but does not take over all of the property in a preexisting district, the school board of such preexisting district shall call a special school district meeting prior to the time of establishment of the cooperative district to see what action shall be taken relative to the remaining property. Where such special meeting neglects to dispose of remaining real property, the successor in interest to a preexisting school district that is coextensive with a city or town is the city or town.

Source. 1955, 334:1. 2001, 35:3, eff. June 8, 2001.

Section 195:10

    195:10 Disposal of Property. – Whenever any property of a cooperative school district is disposed of, the proceeds thereof shall be credited to each pre-existing district in the same proportion as the costs of making capital improvements are credited.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 10, eff. Aug. 13, 1951.

Section 195:11

    195:11 Continuance of Trust Funds. – All trust funds held or enjoyed by any pre-existing district shall be held and applied as the terms of the trust indicate. If such trust allows, the funds may be applied for the same uses and purposes of the cooperative district.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 11. RSA 195:11. 1955, 334:12, eff. Aug. 5, 1955.

Section 195:11-a

    195:11-a Capital Reserves and Cash Balances. – When all of the functions of a school district are to be assumed by a cooperative district the balance of any capital reserve fund established by a school district and any cash balance in the hands of the treasurer or money due the district at the time of establishment of the cooperative district less any outstanding bills or debts other than long term indebtedness which is to become the obligation of the cooperative district, shall be used as a credit against the cooperative district assessment to be raised by the pre-existing district for the first year of operation or may be spread over a period of not more than 5 years as the voters of the pre-existing school district shall determine at either any annual meeting or a special school district meeting called for that purpose prior to the establishment of the cooperative district.

Source. 1955, 334:2, eff. Aug. 5, 1955.

Section 195:12

    195:12 Budget. – At least 30 days prior to the annual meeting, the cooperative school board shall prepare a budget for the ensuing year, after holding at least one public hearing upon a preliminary budget at some convenient place in the district, of which at least 7 days' notice shall have been given, and said budget, subsequent to its final approval by such board, shall be posted in a public place in each pre-existing district and given such other publication as the cooperative school board may determine. The provisions of RSA 32 shall apply to a cooperative school district.

Source. 1947, 199:9. 1951, 213:1, par. 12. 1953, 225:7. RSA 195:12. 1963, 258:9. 1996, 158:6, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:12-a

    195:12-a Budget Committee. –
I. A cooperative school district at an annual meeting, under a proper article in the warrant, may vote to establish a budget committee pursuant to RSA 32:14 and may rescind such action in a like manner. The budget committee shall have the same number of members as the cooperative district school board plus one additional member from the school board as provided in this paragraph. The terms of office and manner of election of members shall be determined in the same manner as for the cooperative school board. Whenever it is voted to establish a budget committee, the moderator in the first instance shall appoint the members of the budget committee, except for the additional member appointed from the school board, within 15 days of the vote establishing the committee. The members appointed by the moderator shall serve until the next annual meeting when the meeting shall elect their successors. No member of the cooperative school board shall be appointed or elected to the budget committee except that the chairperson of the cooperative school board shall appoint a member of the board to serve on the budget committee with all the powers and duties of any other member of the committee. After appointment or election the budget committee shall promptly organize and choose a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary. The secretary shall keep records of the proceedings of the budget committee, which shall be public records open to public inspection.
II. Such cooperative school budget committee shall have the powers and duties of the municipal budget committee under the provisions of RSA 32 insofar as the budget for the cooperative school district is concerned and insofar as RSA 32 is applicable to the cooperative school budget.
III. Such committee shall seasonably provide the cooperative school board with a sufficient number of copies of the budget prepared by it, and the same shall be posted with each copy of the warrant in the manner provided by RSA 195:13.

Source. 1961, 206:6. 1963, 258:10, 10-a. 1967, 136:1, 2. 1971, 252:3. 1979, 321:4. 1996, 158:6, eff. July 1, 1996; 222:17, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:13

    195:13 Meetings, Annual, Special. – A meeting of every cooperative school district shall be held annually between the dates set forth in RSA 197:1 for the choice of district officers, raising and appropriating money for the support of its schools for the fiscal year beginning the next July, and for the transaction of other district business. Special meetings may be called by majority vote of the school board. A special meeting shall be held within 30 days following the receipt by the school board of a petition calling for such a meeting and setting forth the subject matter upon which action is desired signed by at least 5 percent of the voters who are duly registered on the checklists of the district on the date the petition is submitted. The provisions of RSA 197, excepting the provisions of RSA 197:2, shall apply to cooperative school district meetings, except that a copy of the warrant shall be posted in a public place in each pre-existing district as well as at the place of meeting.

Source. 1942, 199:10. 1951, 213:1, par. 13. RSA 195:13. 1969, 211:1. 1971, 562:5. 1973, 427:1. 1981, 250:2, eff. Sept. 1, 1981.

Section 195:13-a

    195:13-a Repealed by 1979, 321:2, I, eff. Aug. 21, 1979. –

Section 195:14

    195:14 Certification of District Taxes. –
I. Voted Appropriations.
(a) The cooperative school board shall annually within 20 days of the close of the meeting certify to the commissioner of revenue administration and the state department of education, upon blanks prescribed and provided by the commissioner of revenue administration for the purpose, a certificate of the several appropriations voted by the district and estimated revenues, so far as known, and such other information as the commissioner of revenue administration may require.
(b) The commissioner of revenue administration shall examine such certificates and delete any appropriations which appear not made in accordance with the law, and adjust any sum, in accordance with RSA 21-J:35, which may be used as a setoff against the amount appropriated when it appears to the commissioner of revenue administration such adjustment is in the best public interest.
(c) The commissioner of revenue administration shall certify to the state department of education the amount to be apportioned among the pre-existing school districts. This amount shall be the balance before the adequate education grant revenues are applied.
(d) Unless the provisions of RSA 195:14-a are adopted, the state department of education shall determine each municipality's proportional share of the net appropriation after application of the grants as follows:
(1) First, the department shall determine each pre-existing district's proportional share of the amount to be apportioned based on the cooperative school district formula.
(2) Second, the department shall then deduct each pre-existing school district's adequate education grant.
(3) If the resulting amount is less than zero, the department shall reduce the adequate education grant under RSA 198:41 by the difference.
(4) The department shall notify the commissioner of the department of revenue administration of its determination.
(e) Upon certification by the commissioner of revenue administration, the selectmen of each town shall seasonably assess the taxes as provided by law.
(f) The selectmen shall pay over to the treasurer of the cooperative district such portions of the sums so raised as may reasonably be required according to a schedule of payments needed for the year as prepared by the treasurer and approved by the cooperative school board, but no such payment shall be greater in percentage to the total sum to be raised by one local district than that of any other local district comprising such cooperative school district.
II. Non-voted Appropriations.
(a) Whenever a cooperative school district assumes any obligations of a preexisting district the cooperative school board shall also certify to the commissioner of revenue administration and the state department of education the amount to be raised by taxation to pay such obligations as they become due, and the state department of education shall determine the proportional part thereof to be borne by each preexisting district and notify the commissioner of revenue administration.
(b) The commissioner of revenue administration shall then add the amount determined under subparagraph (a) to the other sums to be raised by said pre-existing districts and include the same in computing the rate percent of taxation for each pre-existing district, unless the articles of agreement or existing arrangement provides otherwise.
(c) Whenever a cooperative school district has assumed the obligations of a preexisting district, the amount of each payment of principal and interest on all obligations which have been thus assumed shall be annually assessed and collected without any vote or other act of approval whatsoever.
III. (a) The adequate education grant used in subparagraph I(d) shall be based on the revised estimated revenues contained in the report required in RSA 198:4-d, II.
(b) If the commissioner finds that the actual adequacy grant used in the prior year was inaccurate or inappropriate, the commissioner shall perform a town-specific reconciliation adjustment for each town's estimates in question against the apportionment. The difference between the recomputed apportionment and the apportionment determined under subparagraph (a), and the difference between the actual adequate education grant provided under RSA 198:42 for the prior year and the grant amount estimated in the prior year under subparagraph (a), shall be the basis for the town-specific reconciliation adjustment.

Source. 1947, 199:11. 1951, 213:1, par. 14. RSA 195:14. 1955, 334:3. 1963, 258:11. 1973, 544:8. 1995, 137:5. 1996, 158:7. 1999, 17:38; 281:6-8. 2004, 200:10. 2005, 257:16. 2006, 6:5. 2007, 270:3, eff. June 29, 2007. 2012, 198:8, eff. July 1, 2012.

Section 195:14-a

    195:14-a Alternative Method of Apportioning Operating Costs. –
I. As an alternative to the apportionment of operating costs set forth in RSA 195:14, the cooperative school board may fix a specific percentage of the state adequate education grant amount received in a given year to be applied to the operating costs of the cooperative school district, before the apportionment of remaining cooperative school district operating costs. Such percentage shall not be less than zero percent and not more than 100 percent and shall be the same in each city or town in the cooperative school district.
II. The question on the adoption of an alternative method of apportioning operating costs shall be proposed as an article in the warrant of the next cooperative school district annual or special meeting pursuant to RSA 195:13. A majority of voters present and voting on the question in each city or town in the cooperative school district shall be required to approve the alternative method of apportioning operating costs. Upon approval, the clerk of the cooperative school district shall send to the state board of education a certified copy of the warrant.
III. The procedure for modification or rescission of an alternative method of apportioning operating costs shall be as set forth in the alternative method of apportioning operating costs and shall not be subject to the provisions of RSA 195:18, III(i). A majority of voters present and voting on the question in each city or town in the cooperative school district shall be required to approve the modification or rescission.

Source. 2004, 244:1. 2006, 6:6. 2007, 270:3, eff. June 29, 2007.

Section 195:15

    195:15 State Aid. – The state aid to which a cooperative elementary and/or secondary district shall be entitled shall be the total of those shares of the aid to which the pupils attending the cooperative district would have entitled the pre-existing districts, had they remained in the pre-existing districts. For the purposes of crediting the cooperative district's adequate education cost to the pre-existing districts, each such pre-existing district shall have its adequate education cost under RSA 198:38, VII credited against its share of the cooperative school district budget. However, cooperative school districts formed by 2 or more pre-existing districts whose boundaries approximate those of a single township in which they are located shall be treated as a single school district for the purposes of this section.

Source. 1947, 199:12. 1951, 213:1, par. 15. RSA 195:15. 1955, 334:13. 1996, 158:8. 1999, 281:9. 2004, 200:11, eff. June 9, 2004.

Section 195:15-a

    195:15-a Building Aid. – Except as hereinafter provided, for the purpose of receiving state building aid, or other similar aid toward school buildings, which may hereafter be provided, the amount of such aid for cooperative school districts shall apply only to those cooperative or union school districts which were formed from 2 or more districts from 2 or more towns. A cooperative school district formed as a result of a conversion from an authorized regional enrollment area plan shall not be eligible for school building aid for the purchase of property in a pre-existing district which had received building aid for the construction of said building or buildings, provided, however, that any aid for which the pre-existing district is currently eligible shall be continued and shall be paid to the cooperative school district. A cooperative school district formed from 2 or more school districts within one town shall be deemed to be a school district and not a cooperative school district insofar as receipt of state building or other similar aid toward school buildings is concerned. The limitations of this section relative to cooperative school districts formed from districts within one town shall apply only to those which are so organized after July 1, 1955. Such cooperative school district organized prior to July 1, 1955, shall be deemed a cooperative school district for the purpose of receiving such building aid.

Source. 1955, 334:14. 1997, 320:1, eff. July 1, 1998.

Section 195:16

    195:16 Enlargement of Territory. –
A cooperative school district organized prior to July 1, 1963 may be enlarged in the following manner:
I. The school board of any school district situated in proximity to an existing cooperative school district may petition the cooperative school board to meet with it to study jointly the advisability and the terms of enlarging the cooperative school district to include such district. It shall thereupon be the duty of the cooperative school board to meet with the other school board as requested and engage in such joint study. After such joint study the 2 school boards may recommend that the cooperative school district be so enlarged, and if they so recommend, they shall submit proposed articles of agreement in writing signed by a majority of each board setting forth in detail:
(a) The date of operating responsibility, when the cooperative district shall assume control of operation of schools within the joining school district, upon which date the joining school district shall cease to exist;
(b) The number, composition, method of selection and terms of office of its cooperative school board, all in accordance with the provisions of RSA 195:19 through 23 inclusive, provided that its cooperative school board shall consist of an odd number of members not more than 15 for terms not exceeding 3 years;
(c) The specific school properties and other assets in the district to be acquired by the cooperative school district and the disposition of those not acquired including the records;
(d) The initial location of the school or schools which will serve the joining school district;
(e) The indebtedness of the joining school district which the cooperative school district is to assume;
(f) The method of apportioning the capital outlay costs and operational costs under RSA 195:7 or under the articles of agreement of the cooperative school district, which method may be different from the formula previously adopted by the cooperative school district notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 195:8 or its articles of agreement;
(g) The manner in which state aid referred to in RSA 195:15 or any other available state aid shall be allocated, unless otherwise expressly provided by law;
(h) Provisions similar to those outlined in RSA 195:18, IV, if desirable; and
(i) Any other matters, not incompatible with law, which the 2 school boards may consider appropriate to include in the agreement.
II. An executed copy of such proposed articles of agreement shall be submitted to the board; and if it finds that the proposed enlargement would be in accord with the standards set forth in RSA 195:2 and approves the agreement, it shall cause the agreement to be submitted to the cooperative school district and to the joining school district for acceptance by each.
III. The cooperative school board and the school board of the joining school district, upon receipt of written notice of such approval by the board, shall cause the agreement to be filed with their respective district clerks and submitted to the voters of their respective districts as soon as may reasonably be possible at duly called meetings, the voting to be by ballot with the use of the checklist, after reasonable opportunity for debate in open meeting. The article in the warrant and the question on the ballot shall be in substantially the following form:
"Shall the proposed agreement on file with the district clerk, joining __________ school district to __________ cooperative school district be approved?"
 Yes _________ No _________
 

If a majority of the voters present and voting at such meetings in each district shall vote in the affirmative, the clerk of each district shall forthwith send to the board a certified copy of the warrant, certificate of posting, evidence of publication, if required, and minutes of meeting. If the board finds that a majority of the voters present and voting in each district meeting have voted in favor of the enlargement, it shall issue its certificate to that effect, and such certificate shall be conclusive evidence of the lawful enlargement of the cooperative school district. Articles of agreement so adopted shall be deemed to amend the inconsistent provisions in any pre-existing articles of agreement of the cooperative school district.
III-a. Within 60 days after the board has issued its certificate of the lawful enlargement of the cooperative school district, the board shall fix a time and place for a special meeting of the qualified voters within the districts, and shall prepare the warrant for the meeting after consultation with school boards of the pre-existing school district and cooperative school district. The warrant shall include articles for the selection of such school board members as may be necessary as a result of the enlargement and other items of business that require action under the terms of the articles of agreement. The warrant shall be under the hand of the commissioner, in the name of the board, and the commissioner shall cause attested copies of same to be posted at least 14 days before the meeting in 3 public places in each district and a copy of the same to be published at least one week before the date of the meeting in some newspaper generally circulated within the cooperative school district. The expense of posting and publishing the warrant shall be paid by the state. The agent or agents of the commissioner who post and cause publication of the warrant shall make a return thereof, which, with the warrant, shall be made a part of the district records. The meeting shall be called to order by the moderator of the cooperative school district. This meeting shall have the same power and authority as an annual meeting with reference to the raising or appropriating of money. At this meeting and at all future special and annual meetings, qualified voters of the joining district are eligible for participation in all matters of the cooperative school district.
IV. Except for operating responsibility with respect to the schools in the joining district, which authority shall commence on the date specified in the articles of agreement, the cooperative school district and its school board shall have full powers and duties in the enlarged district from the date of the certificate of enlargement.
V. The failure of the voters to approve the acquisition of a school district shall not prevent the commencement of enlargement proceedings under this section with respect to such district thereafter.

Source. 1951, 213:1, par. 16. RSA 195:16. 1963, 258:12. 1969, 70:1. 1971, 252:4, 5. 1996, 158:9, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:16-a

    195:16-a Increase or Decrease in Grades. – Any cooperative school district may amend its existing arrangement or articles of agreement to increase or decrease the grades for which the cooperative school district provides education. If the cooperative district was organized pursuant to RSA 195:18, it shall proceed by amendment of its articles of agreement. The cooperative school board shall cease responsibility for the excluded school grades as of the date specified in the amended articles of agreement or the existing arrangement.

Source. 1963, 258:13. 1996, 158:9. 1997, 320:3, eff. Aug. 22, 1997.

Section 195:16-b

    195:16-b Power of Eminent Domain. – Whenever a cooperative school district cannot acquire by purchase a good title to any real estate or interest therein needed by it for its purposes either because of the unwillingness of the owner to sell at a reasonable price, the owner's inability to convey a good title, or for other reason, the cooperative school district may apply by petition to the superior court for the county in which such real estate or interest therein is located to acquire such real estate or interest therein in the name of such district and to have assessed the damages occasioned by the taking. Thereafter the procedure shall follow that prescribed in RSA 498-A.

Source. 1963, 258:13. 1996, 222:9, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Section 195:16-c

    195:16-c Powers of Superior Court as to Pre-existing Districts. – If there shall arise any occasion which shall require the doing of any act or thing by or in behalf of a pre-existing district which has ceased to exist by reason of its inclusion in a cooperative school district, the superior court shall have the power, upon application of 3 registered voters domiciled in the territory of the pre-existing school district, to appoint an agent who, subject to the approval of the superior court, shall have the power on behalf of and in the name of the pre-existing school district to do any act or thing that may be just under the circumstances.

Source. 1963, 258:13. 2003, 289:19, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Section 195:17

    195:17 Repealed by 1996, 158:19, eff. July 1, 1996. –

Cooperative School Districts Hereafter Formed

Section 195:18

    195:18 Procedure for Formation of Cooperative School District. –
Cooperative school districts shall be organized solely in accordance with the following procedure:
I. (a) Any school district pursuant to an article in the warrant for any annual or special meeting may vote to create a cooperative school district planning committee consisting of 3 qualified voters of whom at least one shall be a member of the school board. The members of the committee shall be elected at the meeting at which the committee is created, unless the district determines that they shall be appointed by the moderator. The members of the committee shall serve without pay for a term ending (1) at the third annual meeting of the district following the creation of the committee, if the committee is created at an annual meeting, or (2) at the first annual meeting of the district next following the expiration of 3 years from the date of the creation of the committee, if the committee is created at a special meeting, or (3) upon the final adjournment of the organization meeting of any cooperative school district of which the district becomes a part. If the term of the committee ends at an annual meeting of the district, the district may create a successor cooperative school district planning committee pursuant to the foregoing provisions. Vacancies on the committee shall be filled by the moderator for the balance of the unexpired term. The district may appropriate money to meet the expenses of the committee at the meeting at which it is created or at any subsequent district meeting notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 32 or RSA 197:3, and such expenses may include the cost of publication and distribution of reports. Cooperative school district planning committees from any 2 or more school districts may join together to form a cooperative school district planning board which shall organize by the election of a chairperson and a clerk-treasurer. The planning board may thereafter admit to membership planning committees from other school districts, but the members of a planning committee shall not be members of more than one planning board at any one time. A cooperative school district planning board shall act by a majority vote of its total membership.
(b) Any school district which votes at any annual or special district meeting to create a cooperative school district planning committee under RSA 195:18 shall elect the members of such committee as provided in RSA 195:18.
II. It shall be the duty of the cooperative school district planning board to study the advisability of establishing a cooperative school district in accordance with the standards set forth in RSA 195:2, its organization, operation and control, and the advisability of constructing, maintaining and operating a school or schools to serve the needs of such district; to estimate the construction and operating costs thereof; to investigate the methods of financing such school or schools, and any other matters pertaining to the organization and operation of a cooperative school district; and to submit a report or reports of its findings and recommendations to the several school districts.
III. A cooperative school district planning board may recommend that a cooperative school district composed of all the school districts represented by its membership or any specified combination of such school districts be established. The planning board shall prepare proposed articles of agreement for the proposed cooperative school district, which shall be signed by at least a majority of the membership of the planning board, which set forth the following:
(a) The school districts which shall be combined to form the proposed cooperative school district and the name of such cooperative school district.
(b) The number, composition, method of selection and terms of office of its cooperative school board, all in accordance with the provisions of RSA 195:19 through 23 inclusive, provided that the cooperative school board shall consist of an odd number of members not more than 15 for terms not exceeding 3 years.
(c) The grades for which the cooperative school district shall be responsible.
(d) The specific properties of pre-existing districts to be acquired by the cooperative school district and the general location of any proposed new schools to be initially established or constructed by the cooperative school district.
(e) The method of apportioning the operating expenses of the cooperative school district among the several preexisting districts and the time and manner of payment of such shares. Home education pupils who do not receive services from the cooperative school district, except an evaluation pursuant to RSA 193-A:6, II shall not be included in the average daily membership relative to apportionment formulas.
(f) The indebtedness of any preexisting district which the cooperative school district is to assume.
(g) The method of apportioning the capital expenses of the cooperative school district among the several preexisting districts, which need not be the same as the method for apportioning operating expenses, and the time and manner of payment of such shares. Capital expenses shall include the costs of acquiring land and buildings for school purposes, including property owned by a preexisting district; the construction, furnishing and equipping of school buildings and facilities; and the payment of the principal and interest of any indebtedness which is incurred to pay for the same or which is assumed by the cooperative school district. Home education pupils who do not receive services from the cooperative school district, except an evaluation pursuant to RSA 193-A:6, II, shall not be included in the average daily membership relative to apportionment formulas.
(h) The manner in which the state aid referred to in RSA 195:15, or any other available state aid, shall be allocated, unless it is otherwise expressly provided by the law making such aid available.
(i) The method by which the articles of agreement may be amended with the approval of the board; except that no amendment may permit secession of territory. The provisions adopted under either subparagraph (e) or (g) above may be subject to review pursuant to an article for that purpose duly inserted in the warrant for a district meeting which may be held at any time after the expiration of the 5-year period measured from the date of the first annual meeting. If the apportionment formula for a cooperative school district has been duly changed, or if an article to continue the current formula has been passed at a district meeting, the basis for the apportionment of all such costs may be subject to review pursuant to an article for that purpose duly inserted in the warrant for a district meeting which may be held at any time after the expiration of the 5-year period measured from the date of the meeting at which the last change was made to the cost apportionment or the last article to continue the current formula was passed. However, such provisions may be amended at any time in order to permit the enlargement of a cooperative school district or an increase in the number of grades for which the cooperative school district shall be responsible.
(j) The date of operating responsibility of the proposed cooperative school district, and a proposed program for the assumption of operating responsibility for education by the proposed cooperative school district and any school construction; which the cooperative school district shall have the power to vary by vote as circumstances may require.
(k) For cooperative districts formed after the effective date of this subparagraph, a plan for dissolution of the cooperative school district. Issues to be considered shall include, but shall not be limited to, the process for ongoing education following dissolution, maintenance of student records, employment, ongoing liability, capital issues, and bond issues.
(l) Any other matters, not incompatible with law, which the cooperative school district planning board may consider appropriate to include in the articles of agreement.
IV. Notwithstanding the provisions of RSA 195:9, the articles of agreement, or any amendment thereto, may provide for the donation, the sale or the transfer under a lease-purchase agreement of any school property owned by a pre-existing district to the cooperative school district, except that no lease-purchase agreement shall extend for a period of more than 20 years. The adoption of the articles of agreement or any such amendment shall be sufficient authorization for the appropriate school boards to carry out the transaction. Obligations incurred by the cooperative school district in connection with any lease-purchase agreement hereunder shall not be deemed indebtedness of the cooperative school district for the purposes of ascertaining its borrowing capacity.
V. Before final approval of a proposed articles of agreement by the planning board, it shall hold at least one public hearing thereon within the proposed cooperative school district and shall give such notice thereof as it may determine to be reasonable. An executed copy of the proposed articles of agreement shall be submitted by the planning board to the board, and, when the board finds that the same are in accord with the standards set forth in RSA 195:2, it shall approve the same and cause them to be submitted to the school boards of the several pre-existing districts for acceptance by the districts as provided in paragraph VI. Upon such submission, the board shall cause the approved articles of agreement to be published once in some newspaper generally circulated within the proposed cooperative school district at the expense of the state. The planning board may amend a proposed articles of agreement to conform to recommendations of the board after holding a further public hearing thereon with notice as above provided.
VI. Upon the receipt of written notice of the board's approval of the articles of agreement, the school board of each preexisting district which is to be included in the cooperative school district shall cause the articles of agreement to be filed with the clerk of such preexisting district and submitted to the voters of the district as soon as may reasonably be possible at an annual meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose, the voting to be by ballot with the use of the checklist, after reasonable opportunity for debate in open meeting. The duty to call such meeting for such purpose may be enforced by the superior court in an equity proceeding commenced by any voter or taxpayer of such school district. The article in the warrant for each district meeting and the question on the ballot to be used at the meeting shall be in substantially the following form:
"Shall the school district accept the provisions of RSA 195 (as amended) providing for the establishment of a cooperative school district, together with the school districts of __________ and __________ etc., in accordance with the provisions of the proposed articles of agreement filed with the school district clerk?"
 Yes _________ No _________
 

If a majority of the voters present and voting in each district shall vote in the affirmative, the clerk of each preexisting district shall forthwith send to the board a certified copy of the warrant, certificate of posting, evidence of publication if required, and minutes of the meeting in such district. If the board finds that a majority of the voters present and voting in each preexisting district meeting have voted in favor of the establishment of the cooperative school district, it shall issue its certificate to that effect. Such certificate shall be conclusive evidence of the lawful organization and formation of the cooperative school district as of the date of its issuance.
VII. If any pre-existing district fails to vote in the affirmative on the proposed articles of agreement within 90 days after its school board receives notice of approval thereof by the board, such district shall be deemed to have rejected the same. If the proposed articles of agreement fail of adoption as herein required, they may be resubmitted to all or a different combination of the several pre-existing districts either in their original form or as amended by the cooperative school district planning board, with the approval of the board, such articles if amended to be published once by the board as provided in the case of initial articles of agreement in paragraph V, and shall in such case be again acted upon by each district, as provided herein; but, prior to the approval thereof by the board for resubmission, the planning board shall hold one further hearing thereon as provided in paragraph V in the case of initial articles of agreement.
VIII. The board shall fix a time and place for a special meeting of the qualified voters within the cooperative school district for the purpose of organization and shall prepare the warrant for the meeting after consultation with the cooperative school district planning board. The warrant shall include articles for the selection of a school board and other necessary officers, the appropriation of money for the operation of the district, and any other items of business that require action at the organization meeting. The warrant shall be under the hand of the commissioner, in the name of the board, and the commissioner shall cause attested copies of same to be posted at least 14 days before the meeting in 3 public places in each pre-existing district and a copy of the same to be published at least one week before the date of the meeting in some newspaper generally circulated within the cooperative school district. The expense of posting and publishing the warrant shall be paid by the state. The agent or agents of the commissioner who post and cause publication of the warrant shall make a return thereof, which, with the warrant, shall be made a part of the district records. The organization meeting shall have the same power and authority as an annual meeting with reference to the raising or appropriating of money.
IX. The organization meeting of a cooperative school district shall be called to order by the chairperson of the cooperative school district planning board, or by the clerk-treasurer thereof, who shall serve as temporary chairperson for the first order of business which shall be the election of a moderator and of a temporary clerk, by ballot, who shall be qualified voters of the district. From and after the issuance of the certificate of formation by the board to the date of operating responsibility of the cooperative school district, such district shall have all the authority and powers of a regular school district for the purposes of incurring indebtedness, for the construction of school facilities and for such other functions as are necessary to obtain proper facilities for a complete program of education. When necessary in such interim, the school board of the cooperative school district is authorized to prepare a budget and call a special meeting of the voters of the district, which meeting shall have the same authority as an annual meeting, for the purpose of adopting the budget, making necessary appropriations, and borrowing money. Whenever the organization meeting is held on or before April 20 in any calendar year, no annual meeting need be held in such calendar year. Sums of money raised and appropriated at the organization meeting or any interim meeting prior to the first annual meeting shall be forthwith certified to the commissioner of revenue administration and the state department of education upon blanks prescribed and provided by the commissioner of revenue administration for the purpose, together with a certificate of estimated revenues, so far as known, and such other information as the commissioner of revenue administration may require. The commissioner of revenue administration shall examine such certificates and delete any appropriations which appear not made in accordance with the law, and adjust any sum which may be used as a setoff against the amount appropriated when it appears to the commissioner such adjustment is in the best public interest. The commissioner of revenue administration shall certify to the state department of education the total amount of taxes to be raised for said cooperative school district and the state department of education shall determine the proportional share of said taxes to be borne by each preexisting school district and notify the commissioner of revenue administration of its determination. Upon certification by the commissioner of revenue administration the selectmen of each town shall seasonably assess the taxes as provided by law. The selectmen shall pay over to the treasurer of the cooperative district such portion of the sums so raised as may reasonably be required according to a schedule of payments needed for the year as prepared by the treasurer and approved by the cooperative school board, but no such payment shall be greater in percentage to the total sum to be raised by one local district than that of any other local district comprising such cooperative school district.
X. The provisions of RSA 195:7 and 8 shall not apply to cooperative school districts organized under this section, but all other sections of this chapter shall apply to such districts, except as otherwise expressly provided in this section or in any articles of agreement adopted pursuant hereto.
XI. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs I-X or any other law to the contrary, no single school district that includes a city shall be prohibited from participating in a school district planning committee.

Source. 1963, 258:1. 1971, 252:6, 7. 1973, 544:8. 1991, 148:1. 1996, 158:10-12; 222:11-13, 18. 1999, 17:39, 40; 281:10, 11. 2000, 59:2, eff. June 16, 2000. 2018, 255:1, eff. Aug. 11, 2018. 2021, 80:2, eff. Aug. 17, 2021.

Apportionment of Cooperative School Boards

Section 195:19

    195:19 Statement of Policy. – It is the purpose of this subdivision to provide a means for cooperative school districts now existing or hereafter formed to meet the constitutional mandate of one-man one-vote as annunciated by the United States supreme court. It is the intention of the legislature to provide flexibility to the cooperative school district in meeting the requirements of the one-man one-vote doctrine within the limitations of this chapter.

Source. 1971, 252:1, eff. Aug. 22, 1971.

Section 195:19-a

    195:19-a Composition of Cooperative School Boards. –
The number, composition, method of selection, and terms of members of cooperative school boards shall be as provided in the bylaws or articles of agreement of the cooperative school district, as the case may be; provided, however, that such bylaws and articles of agreement shall be limited to the alternatives contained herein where applicable; and provided further that no cooperative school district in existence on August 22, 1971 shall be required to conform hereto unless it is so voted pursuant to RSA 671:9.
I. All members of the cooperative school board shall be elected at large; or
II. The cooperative school district shall be divided into single board member districts according to population with as nearly equal population in each district as possible; or
III. The cooperative school district shall be divided into multiboard member districts or a combination of single member or multimember districts so that proportional representation will be most nearly achieved; or
IV. The members of the cooperative school board shall each be domiciled in and represent a pre-existing district with each pre-existing district having at least one such resident representative but all members of the cooperative school board shall be elected at large; or
V. Such other method of selection of cooperative school board members compatible with proportional representation, one-man one-vote principle as may be approved by the state board of education.
VI. The terms of the members of the cooperative school board shall be as provided in the bylaws or articles of agreement provided that in no case shall such terms exceed 3 years.
VII. Whenever the bylaws or articles of agreement provide for the election of cooperative school board members pursuant to this chapter, said election shall be with the use of the non-partisan ballot system under RSA 669.

Source. 1996, 158:13, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:19-b

    195:19-b Reapportionment. – Any cooperative school district organized under any of the provisions of RSA 195 or pursuant to any special act may at any regular or special meeting vote to change the number, composition, method of selection, and terms of office of members on the board of the district, provided that in no event shall the board exceed 15 members nor terms exceed 3 years; and may change the apportionment of the board in relation to the pre-existing school districts.

Source. 1996, 158:13, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:19-c

    195:19-c Special Provisions for Cooperative School Districts. –
I. At the organizational meeting of the cooperative school district, the checklists for each pre-existing district shall be used. The school board of any pre-existing district which does not have a checklist shall make a list of the legal voters in the district for use at such meeting as supervisors are required to do in towns as provided in RSA 654:25-654:31. Thereafter, the cooperative school board shall make, correct and post a list of the legal voters of the cooperative school district acting as supervisors are required to do; except that such list shall indicate with respect to each voter the pre-existing district in which he is domiciled. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, whenever each of the pre-existing school districts is coextensive with the town in which it is located, the cooperative school district may, at an annual cooperative school district meeting, under an article in the warrant for such meeting, vote that the supervisors of each town, acting as the supervisors of the cooperative school district, shall make, correct and post in each pre-existing district a checklist of the voters in each pre-existing district and shall certify to the same acting as supervisors of the cooperative school district and shall attend the cooperative school district meeting. At each cooperative school district election, the checklists prepared by the supervisors in each pre-existing district in accordance with this section shall be used.
II. An updated checklist shall be used at all cooperative school district elections and meetings for the same purposes as checklists are used by towns as provided in RSA 669:5.
III. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any registered voter on a town or city checklist, who has his domicile within a cooperative school district, shall be eligible to vote at any cooperative school district election or meeting in the district where he has his domicile. The supervisors of the checklists for the various cities and towns within a cooperative school district shall make an appropriate notation on their respective checklists with respect to which school district a registered voter is entitled to vote in.
IV. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any cooperative school district, which uses the checklists of the cities and towns within the district for an election or meeting pursuant to paragraph III, shall not be required to maintain a separate school district checklist or conduct sessions of the supervisors of the checklist.

Source. 1996, 158:13, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:20

    195:20 Repealed by 1979, 321:2, II, eff. Aug. 21, 1979. –

Section 195:21

    195:21 Repealed by 1979, 321:2, III, eff. Aug. 21, 1979. –

Section 195:22

    195:22 Method of Proposal. –
A plan for reapportionment, including the terms of office of members to be elected pursuant thereto, as provided for by RSA 195:19-c:
I. May be submitted to the voters by the school board at any regular meeting of the district, and
II. Shall be submitted to the voters on petition, which shall include the proposed plan, to the school board, signed by no less than 10 percent of the qualified voters in a cooperative district at the next regular meeting or at a special meeting of the district if requested in the petition.

Source. 1971, 252:1. 1996, 158:14, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 195:23

    195:23 Repealed by 1979, 321:2, IV, eff. Aug. 21, 1979. –

Withdrawal From Cooperative School District

Section 195:24

    195:24 Repealed by 1996, 158:19, eff. July 1, 1996. –

Section 195:25

    195:25 Procedure for Review. –
I. After the tenth anniversary of the date of operating responsibility, the school board of a cooperative school district may initiate a review of the feasibility and suitability of the withdrawal of one or more member districts from the cooperative district. A similar review shall be initiated if, after the tenth anniversary of the date of operating responsibility, a pre-existing district shall, by a majority vote on a warrant article at a regular or special town meeting, direct the school board of a cooperative school district to initiate such a review. In either case, the review shall be conducted by a committee composed of one member of the school board from each of the pre-existing districts, one member of the board of selectmen from each town within the cooperative school district, and such other members as may be appointed by the committee. The committee shall have its first meeting no later 60 days following its creation or by the vote at the annual meeting which established the committee.
II. Within 180 days after the committee's first meeting, the committee shall report its findings to the state board of education. The committee shall submit a report to the school board of the cooperative school district. The report shall indicate whether the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school district is recommended, not recommended, or whether more time and information are needed to make a determination.
III. If the committee finds that the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school district is recommended, the committee shall develop a withdrawal plan in accordance with RSA 195:26. The plan shall be submitted to the state board of education no later than November 1. Members of the committee who voted against recommending withdrawal may file a minority report with the state board of education no later than November 1.
IV. If the committee finds that the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school districts is not recommended, the committee shall file a report with the school board of the cooperative school district and the committee shall be dissolved. Members of the committee who voted to recommend the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school district may file a minority report with the school board of the cooperative school district.
V. If the committee finds that more time and information are needed to make a determination, the committee shall reconvene within 30 days of filing its initial report and continue its work. In such a case, the committee shall, within 180 of filing its initial report, file a subsequent report with the school board of the cooperative school district indicating whether the withdraw of one or more towns from the cooperative school district is recommended or not recommended. If the committee finds that the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school district is not recommended, members of the committee who voted to recommend the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school district may file a minority report with the school board of the cooperative school district. If the committee finds that the withdrawal of one or more towns from the cooperative school district is recommended, the committee shall develop a withdrawal plan in accordance with RSA 195:26. The plan shall be submitted to the state board of education no later than November 1. Members of the committee who voted against the withdrawal plan and its recommendations may file a minority report with the state board of education no later than November 1.
VI. If the state board approves the withdrawal plan, whether submitted by the committee or by minority report, the plan shall be submitted to the voters of the cooperative school district in accordance with RSA 195:29.

Source. 1977, 439:1. 1979, 129:1. 2005, 110:1, eff. June 15, 2005. 2018, 1:1, eff. Mar. 27, 2018.

Section 195:26

    195:26 Withdrawal Plan. –
A plan for the withdrawal of a member district or districts of a cooperative school district shall include the following:
I. The name of the withdrawing district or districts and the grades.
II. The number, composition, method of selection, and terms of office of the school board of the withdrawing district or districts and of the cooperative school board.
III. The method of apportioning the operating and capital expenses among the members of the cooperative school district if a change is to be proposed in conjunction with the withdrawal procedure.
IV. The proposed date of operating responsibility, at which time the withdrawing district shall be responsible for the education of its pupils and after which the cooperative district will no longer have such financial and educational responsibility.
V. The liability of the withdrawing district for its share of any outstanding indebtedness of the cooperative school district as detailed in RSA 195:27.
VI. A plan for the education of all students in the withdrawing school district and for the continuation of the school system of the cooperative district. This shall detail the proposed assignment of students in grades operated by the cooperative and withdrawing district or districts including, if any, tuition arrangements or contracts.
VII. Any other matters, not incompatible with law, which the planning committee may consider appropriate to include in the withdrawal plan.

Source. 1977, 439:1, eff. Sept. 3, 1977.

Section 195:27

    195:27 Liability of Withdrawing District. – Each withdrawing district shall remain liable for its share of the indebtedness of the capital costs of the cooperative school district which is outstanding when the withdrawal vote takes effect, and the withdrawing district shall pay to the cooperative school district annually (a) that percentage of the payments of principal and interest of such debt thereafter due which is the same as the percentage for which the withdrawing district was responsible in the school year immediately preceding the effective date of the withdrawal vote, and (b) all amounts of state aid for the purchase or construction of school buildings and any other state aids which are lost by the cooperative school district after the withdrawal of a district as a result of such withdrawal, as determined by the state board of education, except that the withdrawing district shall not be liable for any indebtedness or loss of state aid or other aid contracted after the district has duly notified the remaining districts in the cooperative that a withdrawal study is being requested. Payments in discharge of such liability shall be made in accordance with a schedule agreed upon by the school board of the cooperative school district and the withdrawing school district or, in the event they fail to agree, as fixed by the state board of education. Such payments shall be deemed to be trust funds and shall be applied by the cooperative school district solely in payment of its indebtedness which was incurred to finance cooperative school facilities and which was outstanding on the effective date of the withdrawal vote. A school district which withdraws from the cooperative school district shall forfeit its equity in any cooperative district schools.

Source. 1977, 439:1, eff. Sept. 3, 1977.

Section 195:28

    195:28 Disposition of Property. – If a pre-existing school district withdraws from the cooperative school district, the cooperative school district shall transfer and convey title to any school building and land located in the withdrawing district to the withdrawing district upon payment by the withdrawing district of the costs of capital improvements and additions to said school building incurred by the cooperative school district, less the share which the withdrawing school district has already paid toward such costs and the share which the withdrawing school district is required to contribute toward such costs as provided in RSA 195:27. The amount of said capital improvements and additions and the time of transfer of title shall be determined by the agreement for withdrawal between the cooperative school district and the withdrawing school district. The withdrawing school district forfeits its equity in all other cooperative school district facilities.

Source. 1977, 439:1, eff. Sept. 3, 1977.

Section 195:29

    195:29 Vote on Withdrawal. – If the state board approves the plan for withdrawal, the board shall cause the withdrawal plan to be published once in some newspaper generally circulated within the cooperative school district. Upon receipt of a written notice of the board's approval of the withdrawal agreement, the school board of the cooperative district shall cause the withdrawal plan to be filed with the clerk of the cooperative school district and submitted to the voters of the district as soon as may reasonably be possible at an annual or special meeting called for the purpose, the voting to be by ballot with the use of the checklist, after reasonable opportunity for debate in open meeting. The article in the warrant for the district meeting and the question on the ballot to be used at the meeting shall be in substantially the following form:
"Shall the school district accept the provisions of RSA 195 (as amended) providing for the withdrawal of the preexisting district of __________ from the __________ cooperative school district in accordance with the provisions of the proposed withdrawal plan filed with the school district clerk?"
Yes _________ No _________
If a majority of voters present and voting in the withdrawing preexisting district vote against withdrawal, then the withdrawal process is terminated. If a majority of the voters present and voting in the withdrawing preexisting district shall vote in the affirmative, and a majority of the voters present and voting in the entire cooperative district shall vote in the affirmative, the clerk of the cooperative school district shall forthwith send to the state board of education a certified copy of the warrant, certificate of posting, evidence of publication, and minutes of the meeting. If the board finds that a majority of the voters present and voting have voted in favor of the withdrawal plan, it shall issue its certificate to that effect and such certificate shall be conclusive evidence of the withdrawal of the preexisting district and the continuation of the cooperative school district as of the date of its issuance, or the dissolution of a 2-district cooperative if the cooperative was formed by 2 preexisting districts, provided, however, that a withdrawal plan shall be prepared for a 2-district cooperative and it shall provide for the disposition of property held within the cooperative and a statement of assumption of liabilities. If a majority of voters present and voting reject the plan, the withdrawing district shall have the right to appeal such vote to the state board of education. The state board shall upon receipt of such appeal investigate and report back to the district on its findings and recommendations; and this report may require that there will be another special meeting for a vote of reconsideration.

Source. 1977, 439:1. 1979, 129:2. 1996, 158:15, eff. July 1, 1996. 2018, 78:1, eff. July 24, 2018.

Section 195:30

    195:30 Time of Withdrawal. – The vote to withdraw from a cooperative school district shall take effect on July 1 of the calendar year one year subsequent to the date on which the withdrawal vote is passed. A preexisting school district which withdraws from a cooperative school district shall remain a part of the school administrative unit of which it was a member prior to withdrawal unless the withdrawing district complies with the school administrative unit withdrawal process set forth in RSA 194-C:2. After passage of the withdrawal vote and the issuance by the state board of education of its certificate of withdrawal, a special meeting of the voters in the withdrawing district shall be held at a time set by the state board of education. The warrant for this special meeting, approved by the state board of education and signed by the commissioner, shall provide for the election of officers in the withdrawing school district. The commissioner of education shall have authority to appoint officers pro tem as may be necessary and prepare the warrant for the special meeting held to elect officers. This meeting shall have the same power and authority as an annual meeting with reference to the raising or appropriating of money. The district officers elected at said meeting shall take office immediately and shall carry out the duties of their office and may take any action otherwise permitted by law which is necessary in order to carry out the provisions of the withdrawal.

Source. 1977, 439:1. 1979, 129:3, eff. Aug. 4, 1979. 2010, 5:3, eff. June 18, 2010.

Section 195:31

    195:31 Modification. – In the event that the cooperative district adopts the provisions of RSA 194-B, the percentage of pupils authorized by a vote of the cooperative school district shall be permitted to attend a chartered public school which may be established in the district and approved by the voters in accordance with RSA 194-B:3.

Source. 2000, 106:1, eff. July 7, 2000. 2008, 354:1, eff. Sept. 5, 2008. 2009, 241:12, eff. Sept. 14, 2009.

Commission to Study Issues Relating to Pre-Existing Districts Withdrawing from a Cooperative School District

Section 195:32

    195:32 Repealed by 2016, 225:2, eff. Nov. 1, 2017. –