Districts already created and those that may be created from portions of two or more contiguous counties may hold elections under this Article to be incorporated or to vote a special local tax therein for the purposes enumerated in G.S. 115C-501.
Elections for either purpose must be initiated by petitions from the portion of each county included in the district, or the proposed district. In districts already created or proposed to be created, the petition must be signed by fifteen percent (15%) of the registered voters who reside in the area. When the petitions shall have been approved by each of the boards of education of such contiguous counties, they shall then be presented by each of said boards of education to their respective boards of county commissioners.
The boards of commissioners of each of the contiguous counties, in compliance with the provisions of this Article relating to the conduct of local tax elections, then shall call upon the county board of elections to hold an election in that portion of the proposed district lying in its county. Election returns shall be made from each portion of the proposed district to the board of commissioners ordering the election in that portion, and the returns shall be canvassed and recorded as required in this Article for local tax districts.
If a majority of the voters who vote thereon in each of the counties shall vote in favor of the tax, or for incorporation, the election shall be determined to have carried in the whole district, and shall be so recorded in the records of the board of county commissioners in each county in which the district is located.
If the proposition submitted to the voters in the election is a question of incorporating the district, the ballots for this election shall have printed thereon the words "For Incorporation" and "Against Incorporation." If the election for incorporation is carried, the district is thereby incorporated and shall possess all the authority of incorporated districts.
In case the election carried in each portion of the proposed district, the several county boards of education concerned shall each pass a formal order consolidating the territory into one joint local tax district, which shall be and become a body corporate by the name and style of "_______________Joint Local Tax School District of ______Counties." The county board of education having the largest school census and the largest area in the part of the joint local tax district lying in its county shall determine the location of the schoolhouse; but if the largest census and largest area do not both lie in the same county, then the county boards shall jointly select the site for the building; and in case of a disagreement they shall submit the question to a board of arbitration consisting of three members, one member to be named by each board of education if three counties are concerned, or if there are but two counties, then each board shall choose one member and the two so named shall select the third member. The decision of this board of arbitration shall be binding on all county boards of education concerned.
The building of all schoolhouses in such joint local tax districts shall be effected by the county board of education of the county in which the building is to be located under authority of law governing the erection of school buildings by county boards of education. It shall be lawful for the boards of education in the other county or counties to contribute to the cost of the building in proportion to the number of children shown by the official census to be resident within that part of the joint district lying within each county respectively. If the building is to be erected from moneys borrowed from the State Literary Fund or from county taxation, then each county board of education shall contribute to its construction in the proportion set out above and pay over its contribution to the treasurer of the county board having control of the erection of the building: Provided, it shall be lawful for the county board that controls the erection of the building to borrow from the State and lend to the district the full amount of the cost of the building in cases where the entire amount, or part of the amount, is to repaid by the district from district funds.
All district funds of a joint local tax district shall be kept distinct from all other funds, placed to the credit of the district, and expended as other local tax or district bond funds are lawfully disbursed.
The county board of education and county superintendent of schools of the county in which the schoolhouse is located shall have as full and ample control over the joint school and the district as it has in the case of other local tax districts, subject only to the limitations of this section.
All districts formed from portions of contiguous counties before the ratification of this Article are hereby authorized and empowered to exercise all the powers and privileges conferred by this Article. (1955, c. 1372, art. 14, s. 8; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 975, ss. 8, 24.)