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Engrossed Version House Bill 2711 History

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WEST virginia legislature

2017 regular session

ENGROSSED

Committee Substitute

for

House Bill 2711

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Armstead and Delegate Miley

(By Request of the Executive)

[Originating in the Committee on Finance;
March 24, 2017]

A BILL to repeal §18-2-26a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §18-2-26 of said code; to amend and reenact §18-2E-5 of said code; to amend and reenact §18-5-13 and §18-5-45 of said code; to further amend said code by adding thereto two new sections designated §18-5-13b and §18-5-13c; to amend and reenact §18-9A-8a of said code; and to amend and reenact §18A-4-14 of said code, all relating generally to education; repealing requirement for biennial meetings of county boards by region; providing for dissolving regional educational service agencies by certain date; allowing for modification and dissolving by cooperative agreement before said date; providing for the transfer, liquidation or disbursement of property and records; clarifying responsibilities and authority of Legislature and state board with respect to process for improving education and purposes and intent of system of accountability; requiring high quality digital literacy skill standard; modifying statewide assessment program; modifying annual performance measures for accreditation; requiring county board use of statewide electronic information system; modifying process for assessing school and school system performance; eliminating office of education performance audits and authorizing employment of experienced education professionals with certain duties; modifying school accreditation and removing authorization for state board intervention in school operations; modifying school system approval and processes for state board intervention; modifying processes for improving capacity; modifying process for building leadership capacity of system during intervention; expanding county board authority for entering into cooperative agreements; establishing the County Superintendents’ Advisory Council; setting forth the council’s authority and responsibilities, including the formation of four geographic quadrants to carry out the work of the council; requiring certain meetings and reports; authorizing county board agreements to establish educational services cooperatives; providing references to regional education service agencies mean cooperatives; providing priorities for transfer, liquidation and disbursement of regional education service agency property, equipment and records upon dissolution; providing for governing council of educational services cooperatives; providing for powers and duties; providing for cooperative annual plan and optional programs and services; providing for selection of fiscal agent county board and annual audit; providing for staff and member expenses; providing for member compensation; defining instructional day and instruction through alternative methods; providing for increasing length of instructional day and uses of instructional time gained; providing for use of instruction delivered through alternative methods; providing flexibility in scheduling faculty senate meetings; authorizing reduction in instructional term for certain emergency or disaster declaration by Governor; reducing foundation allowance for regional education service agencies; requiring planning period within school day, rather than instructional day and encouraging districts and schools to develop and execute planning period strategy; and making technical improvements and removing obsolete provisions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:


That §18-2-26a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; that §18-2-26 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §18-2E-5 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §18-5-13 and §18-5-45 of said code be amended and reenacted; that said code be further amended by adding thereto two new sections designated, §18-5-13b and §18-5-13c; that §18-9A-8a of said code be amended and reenacted; and that §18A-4-14 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 18. EDUCATION.


ARTICLE 2. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.


§18-2-26. Establishment of multicounty regional educational service agencies; purpose; authority of state board; governance; annual performance standards. Abolishment and transition of regional education service agencies.

(a) Legislative intent. -- The intent of the Legislature in providing for establishment of regional education service agencies, hereinafter referred to in this section as agency or agencies, is to provide for high quality, cost effective education programs and services to students, schools and school systems.

Since the first enactment of this section in 1972, the focus of public education has shifted from a reliance on input models to determine if education programs and services are providing to students a thorough and efficient education to a performance based accountability model which relies on the following:

(1) Development and implementation of standards which set forth the things that students should know and be able to do as the result of a thorough and efficient education including measurable criteria to evaluate student performance and progress;

(2) Development and implementation of assessments to measure student performance and progress toward meeting the standards;

(3) Development and implementation of a system for holding schools and school systems accountable for student performance and progress toward obtaining a high quality education which is delivered in an efficient manner; and

(4) Development and implementation of a method for building the capacity and improving the efficiency of schools and school systems to improve student performance and progress.

(b) Purpose. -- In establishing the agencies the Legislature envisions certain areas of service in which the agencies can best assist the state board in implementing the standards based accountability model pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and, thereby, in providing high quality education programs. These areas of service include the following:

(1) Providing technical assistance to low performing schools and school systems;

(2) Providing high quality, targeted staff development designed to enhance the performance and progress of students in state public education;

(3) Facilitating coordination and cooperation among the county boards within their respective regions in such areas as cooperative purchasing; sharing of specialized personnel, communications and technology; curriculum development; and operation of specialized programs for exceptional children;

(4) Installing, maintaining and/or repairing education related technology equipment and software with special attention to the state level technology learning tools for public schools program;

(5) Receiving and administering grants under the provisions of federal and/or state law; and

(6) Developing and/or implementing any other programs or services as directed by law, the state board or the regional council.

(c) State board rule. -- The state board shall reexamine the powers and duties of the agencies in light of the changes in state level education policy that have occurred and shall establish multicounty regional education service agencies by rule, promulgated in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.

The rule shall contain all information necessary for the effective administration and operation of the agencies. In developing the rule, the state board may not delegate its Constitutional authority for the general supervision of schools to the agencies, however, it may allow the agencies greater latitude in the development and implementation of programs in the service areas outlined in subsection (b) of this section with the exceptions of providing technical assistance to low performing schools and school systems and providing high quality, targeted staff development designed to enhance the performance and progress of students in state public education. These two areas constitute the most important responsibilities for the agencies.

The rule establishing the agencies shall be promulgated before November 1, 2015, and shall be consistent with the provisions of this section. It shall include, but is not limited to, the following procedures:

(1) Providing for a uniform governance structure for the agencies containing at least these elements:

(A) Selection by the state board of an executive director who shall be responsible for the administration of his or her respective agency. The rule shall provide for the state board to select the executive director only upon the nomination of one or more candidates by the regional council of the agency. In case the board refuses to select any of the candidates nominated, the regional council shall nominate others and submit them to the board. All candidates nominated must meet the qualifications for the position established by the state board. Nothing shall prohibit the timely employment of persons to perform necessary duties;

(B) Development of a job description and qualifications for the position of executive director, together with procedures for informing the public of position openings, for taking and evaluating applications, for making nominations for these positions, and for annually evaluating the performance of persons employed as executive director. The state board shall consult with the regional councils on the development of the job description, qualifications and procedures;

(C) Provisions for the annual performance evaluation of the executive director that provide for one half of the evaluation rating to be determined by the regional council;

(D) Provisions for the agencies to employ other staff, as necessary, with the approval of the state board and upon the recommendation of the executive director: Provided, That prior to July 1, 2003, no person who is an employee of an agency on the effective date of this section may be terminated or have his or her salary and benefit levels reduced as the sole result of the changes made to this section or by state board rule;

(E) Appointment by the county boards of a regional council in each agency area consisting of representatives of county boards and county superintendents from within that area for the purpose of advising, assisting and informing the executive director in carrying out his or her duties to achieve the purposes of this section and provide educational services to the county school systems within the region. The state board may provide for membership on the regional council for representatives from other agencies and institutions who have interest or expertise in the development or implementation of regional education programs; and

(F) Selection by the state superintendent of a representative from the state Department of Education to serve on each regional council. These representatives shall meet with their respective regional councils at least quarterly;

(2) Establishing statewide standards by the state board for service delivery by the agencies. These standards may be revised annually and shall include, but are not limited to, programs and services to fulfill the purposes set forth in subsection (b) of this section;

(3) Establishing procedures for developing and adopting an annual basic operating budget for each agency and for other budgeting and accounting procedures as the state board may require;

(4) Establishing procedures clarifying that agencies may acquire and hold real property;

(5) Dividing the state into appropriate, contiguous geographical areas and designating an agency to serve each area. The rule shall provide that each of the state's counties is contained within a single service area and that all counties located within the boundaries of each agency, as determined by the state board, shall be members of that agency; and

(6) Such other standards or procedures as the state board finds necessary or convenient.

(d) Regional services. -- In furtherance of the purposes provided for in this section, the state board and the regional council of each agency shall continually explore possibilities for the delivery of services on a regional basis which will facilitate equality in the education offerings among counties in its service area, permit the delivery of high quality education programs at a lower per student cost, strengthen the cost effectiveness of education funding resources, reduce administrative and/or operational costs, including the consolidation of administrative, coordinating and other county level functions into region level functions, and promote the efficient administration and operation of the public school systems generally.

Technical, operational, programmatic or professional services are among the types of services appropriate for delivery on a regional basis. Nothing in this section prohibits regional education service agencies from cooperating, sharing or combining services or programs with each other, at their discretion, to further the purposes of this section.

(e) Virtual education. -- The state board, in conjunction with the various agencies, shall develop an effective model for the regional delivery of instruction in subjects where there exists low student enrollment or a shortage of certified teachers or where the delivery method substantially improves the quality of an instructional program. The model shall incorporate an interactive electronic classroom approach to instruction. To the extent funds are appropriated or otherwise available, county boards or regional education service agencies may adopt and utilize the model for the delivery of the instruction.

(f) Computer information system. -- Each county board of education shall use the statewide electronic information system established by the state board for data collection and reporting to the state Department of Education.

(g) Reports and evaluations. -- Each agency shall submit to the state superintendent on such date and in such form as specified in the rules adopted by the state board a report and evaluation of the technical assistance and other services provided and utilized by the schools within each respective region and their effectiveness. Additionally, any school may submit an evaluation of the services provided by the agency to the state superintendent at any time. This report shall include an evaluation of the agency program, suggestions on methods to improve utilization and suggestions on the development of new programs and the enhancement of existing programs. The reports and evaluations submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be submitted to the state board and shall be made available upon request to the standing committees on education of the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates and to the secretary of education and the arts.

(h) Funding sources. -- An agency may receive and disburse funds from the state and federal governments, from member counties, or from gifts and grants.

(i) Employee expenses. -- Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, employees of agencies shall be reimbursed for travel, meals and lodging at the same rate as state employees under the travel management office of the Department of Administration.

A county board member may not be an employee of an agency.

(j) Meetings and compensation. --

(1) Agencies shall hold at least one half of their regular meetings during hours other than those of a regular school day. The executive director of each agency shall attend at least one meeting of each of the member county boards of education each year to explain the agency's services, garner suggestions for program improvement and provide any other information as may be requested by the county board.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, county board members serving on regional councils may receive compensation at a rate not to exceed $100 per meeting attended, not to exceed fifteen meetings per year. County board members serving on regional councils may be reimbursed for travel at the same rate as state employees under the rules of the travel management office of the Department of Administration.

(a) The regional education service agencies previously established by this section and W. Va. 126CSR72, filed October 15, 2015, and effective November 16, 2015, shall remain and may continue to operate in accordance with the provisions of this section prior to its amendment and reenactment at the Regular Session of the Legislature, 2017, and with said rule, unless and until modified by a cooperative agreement entered into by county boards within the agency boundaries or dissolved by said county boards: Provided, That on July 1, 2018, the regional education service agencies as provided under prior provisions of this section are dissolved.

(b) On July 1, 2018, all property, equipment and records held by the regional education service agencies necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article shall be transferred or liquidated or disbursed in accordance with section thirteen-c, article five of this chapter.


ARTICLE 2E. HIGH QUALITY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.


§18-2E-5. Process for improving education; education standards; statewide assessment program; accountability measures; Office of Education Performance Audits; school accreditation and school system approval; intervention to correct low performance.


(a) Legislative findings, purpose and intent. — The Legislature makes the following findings with respect to the process for improving education and its purpose and intent in the enactment of this section:

(1) The process for improving education includes four primary elements, these being:

(A) Standards which set forth the knowledge and skills that students should know and be able to perform as the result of a thorough and efficient education that prepares them for the twenty-first century, including measurable criteria to evaluate student performance and progress;

(B) Assessments of student performance and progress toward meeting the standards;

(C) A system of accountability for continuous improvement defined by high-quality standards for schools and school systems articulated by a rule promulgated by the state board and outlined in subsection (c) of this section that will build capacity in and ensure the efficiency of schools and districts to meet rigorous outcomes that assure student performance and progress toward obtaining the knowledge and skills intrinsic to a high-quality education, rather than monitoring for compliance with specific laws and regulations; and

(D) A method for building the capacity and improving the efficiency of schools and school systems to improve student performance and progress;

(2) As the constitutional body charged with the general supervision of schools as provided by general law, the state board has the authority following constructive engagement of the Legislature and as delegated by the Legislature by general law and the responsibility to establish the standards and assess the performance and progress of students against the standards, and to exercise its supervisory responsibility to hold schools and school systems accountable and assist schools and school systems to build capacity and improve efficiency so that the standards are met, including, when necessary, seeking additional resources in consultation with the Legislature and the Governor;

(3) As the constitutional body charged with providing for a thorough and efficient system of schools, the Legislature has the authority and the responsibility to establish and be engaged constructively in the determination of the knowledge and skills that students should know and be able to do as the result of a thorough and efficient education. This determination is made by using the process for improving education to determine when school improvement is needed by evaluating the results and the efficiency of the system of schools, by ensuring accountability and by providing for the necessary capacity and its efficient use;

(4) In consideration of these findings, the purpose of this section is to establish a process for improving education that includes the four primary elements as set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection to provide assurances that the high-quality standards are, at a minimum, being met and that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided for all West Virginia public school students on an equal education opportunity basis; and

(5) The intent of the Legislature in enacting this section and section five-c of this article is to establish a process through which the Legislature, the Governor and the state board can work in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration intended in the process for improving education, to will constructively consult on any measures affecting standards, assessments and accountability prior to their adoption, and examine the performance and progress of students, schools and school systems and, when necessary, to consider alternative measures to ensure that all students continue to receive the thorough and efficient education to which they are entitled. However, nothing in this section requires any specific level of funding by the Legislature.

(b) Electronic county and school strategic improvement plans. — The state board shall promulgate a rule consistent with the provisions of this section and in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code establishing an electronic county strategic improvement plan for each county board and an electronic school strategic improvement plan for each public school in this state. Each respective plan shall be for a period of no more than five years and shall include the mission and goals of the school or school system to improve student, school or school system performance and progress, as applicable. The strategic plan shall be revised annually in each area in which the school or system is below the standard on the annual performance measures. The plan shall be revised when required pursuant to this section to include each annual performance measure upon which the school or school system fails to meet the standard for performance and progress, the action to be taken to meet each measure, a separate time line and a date certain for meeting each measure, a cost estimate and, when applicable, the assistance to be provided by the department and other education agencies to improve student, school or school system performance and progress to meet the annual performance measure.

The department shall make available to all public schools through its website or the West Virginia Education Information System an electronic school strategic improvement plan boilerplate designed for use by all schools to develop an electronic school strategic improvement plan which incorporates all required aspects and satisfies all improvement plan requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. Every Student Succeeds Act or subsequent federal law.

(c) High-quality education standards and efficiency standards. — In accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the state board shall adopt and periodically review and update high-quality education standards for student, school and school system performance and processes in the following areas:

(1) Curriculum;

(2) Workplace readiness skills;

(3) Finance;

(4) Transportation;

(5) Special education;

(6) Facilities;

(7) Administrative practices;

(8) Training of county board members and administrators;

(9) Personnel qualifications;

(10) Professional development and evaluation;

(11) Student performance, progress and attendance;

(12) Professional personnel, including principals and central office administrators, and service personnel attendance;

(13) School and school system performance and progress;

(14) A code of conduct for students and employees;

(15) Indicators of efficiency

(16) Digital literacy skills; and

(16) (17) Any other areas determined by the state board.

(d) Comprehensive statewide student assessment program. — The state board shall establish a comprehensive statewide student assessment program to assess student performance and progress in grades three through twelve. The assessment program is subject to the following:

(1) The state board shall promulgate a rule in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code establishing the comprehensive statewide student assessment program;

(2) Prior to the 2014-2015 testing window of the 2017-2018 school year, the state board shall align the comprehensive statewide student assessment for all grade levels in which the test is given with the college-readiness standards adopted pursuant to section thirty-nine, article two of this chapter or develop other aligned tests to be required at each grade level so that in grades three through eight and administered once during the grade span of nine through twelve to assess progress toward college and career readiness in English/language arts and math. can be measured The assessment in science shall be administered once in grade spans three through five, once in grade spans six through nine, and once in grade spans ten through twelve;

(3) The state board may require that student proficiencies be measured through the ACT EXPLORE and the ACT PLAN assessments or other comparable assessments, which are approved by the state board and provided by future vendors;

(3) In accordance with articles two and two-e, chapter eighteen of this code, the state board shall adopt a standard, curriculum-based achievement college entrance examination for grade eleven. The college entrance examination must include separate tests in English, reading, writing, mathematics and science. The adopted examination administered in grade eleven counts as the statewide student assessment;

(4) The state board may require that student proficiencies be measured through the West Virginia writing assessment at any grade levels determined by the state board to be appropriate; and

(4) The comprehensive statewide student assessment shall be administered to students in accordance with the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act or subsequent federal law;

(5) The state board may provide, through the statewide assessment program, other optional testing or assessment instruments applicable to grade levels kindergarten through grade twelve which may be used by each school to promote student achievement. The state board annually shall publish and make available, electronically or otherwise, to school curriculum teams and teacher collaborative processes the optional testing and assessment instruments.  For any online assessment, the state board shall provide online assessment preparation to ensure that students have the requisite digital literacy skills to be successful on the assessment; and

(6) The state board may adopt a career readiness assessment that measures and documents foundational workplace skills and leads to a nationally recognized work readiness certificate for students that meet minimum proficiency requirements.

 (e) State annual performance measures for school and school system accreditation. —

The state board shall promulgate a rule in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code that establishes a system that is based in multiple measures and meets the requirements of any federal law to assess and weigh annual performance measures for state accreditation of schools and school systems to assure that schools and school systems are providing a thorough and efficient education to their students.  State accreditation shall be reviewed and approved in a balanced manner that gives fair credit to all measures affecting students and subgroups of students in the schools and school systems. The state board also may establish performance incentives for schools and school systems as part of the state accreditation system. On or before December 1, 2013 2018, the state board shall report to the Governor and to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability the proposed rule for establishing the measures and incentives of accreditation and the estimated cost therefore, if any. Thereafter, the state board shall provide an annual report to the Governor and to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on the impact and effectiveness of the accreditation system. The rule for school and school system accreditation proposed by the board may include, but is not limited to, the following measures:

(1) Student proficiency and growth in English and language arts, math, science and other subjects determined by the board;

(2) Graduation and attendance rate;

(3) Students taking and passing AP tests;

(4) Students completing a career and technical education class;

(5) Closing achievement gaps within subgroups of a school's student population; and

(6) Students scoring at or above average attainment on SAT or ACT tests.

(f) Indicators of efficiency. — In accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the state board shall adopt by rule and periodically review and update indicators of efficiency for use by the appropriate divisions within the department to ensure efficient management and use of resources in the public schools in the following areas:

(1) Curriculum delivery including, but not limited to, the use of distance learning;

(2) Transportation;

(3) Facilities;

(4) Administrative practices;

(5) Personnel; and

(6) Use of regional educational service agency programs and services, including programs and services that may be established by their assigned regional educational service agency or other regional services that may be initiated between and among participating county boards; and

(7) (6) Any other indicators as determined by the state board.

Each county board of education shall use the statewide electronic information system established by the state board for data collection and reporting to the state Department of Education.

(g) Assessment and accountability of school and school system performance and processes. — In accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the state board shall establish by rule a system of education performance audits which measures to evaluate the quality of education and the preparation of students based on the annual measures of student, school and school system performance and progress. The system of education performance audits measures shall provide information to the state board, the Legislature and the Governor, upon which they may determine whether a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided. The system of education performance audits measures shall include:

(1) The assessment of student, school and school system performance and progress based on the annual measures established pursuant to subsection (e) of this section;

(2) The evaluation of records, reports and other information collected by the Office of Education Performance Audits upon which documents that provide information on the quality of education and compliance with statutes, policies and standards: and may be determined;

(3) The review of school and school system electronic strategic improvement plans. and

(4) The on-site review of the processes in place in schools and school systems to enable school and school system performance and progress and compliance with the standards.

(h) Uses of school and school system assessment information. — The state board shall use information from the system of education performance audits measures to assist it in ensuring that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being efficiently provided and to improve student, school and school system performance and progress. Information from the system of education performance audits measures further shall be used by the state board for these purposes, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) Determining school accountability and accreditation for schools and school system approval status as required by state board rule and any federal law or regulations; and

(2) Holding schools and school systems accountable for the efficient use of existing resources to meet or exceed the standards; and

(3) Targeting additional resources when necessary to improve performance and progress.

The state board shall make accreditation the performance measures information available to the Legislature, the Governor, the general public and to any individual who requests the information, subject to the provisions of any act or rule restricting the release of information.

(i) Early detection and intervention programs. — Based on the assessment of student, school and school system performance and progress, the state board shall establish early detection and intervention programs using the available resources of the Department of Education, the regional educational service agencies, the Center for Professional Development and the Principals Academy, or other resources as appropriate, to assist underachieving schools and school systems to improve performance before conditions become so grave as to warrant more substantive state intervention. Assistance shall include, but is not limited to, providing additional technical assistance and programmatic, professional staff development, and providing monetary, staffing and other resources where appropriate.

(j) Office of Education Performance Audits. —

(1) To assist the state board in the operation of a system of education performance audits, the state board shall establish an Office of Education Performance Audits consistent with the provisions of this section. The Office of Education Performance Audits shall be operated under the direction of the state board independently of the functions and supervision of the State Department of Education and state superintendent. The Office of Education Performance Audits shall report directly to and be responsible to the state board in carrying out its duties under the provisions of this section.

(2) The office shall be headed by a director who shall be appointed by the state board and who serves at the will and pleasure of the state board. The annual salary of the director shall be set by the state board and may not exceed eighty percent of the salary of the State Superintendent of Schools.

(3) The state board shall organize and sufficiently staff the office to fulfill the duties assigned to it by law and by the state board. Employees of the State Department of Education who are transferred to the Office of Education Performance Audits shall retain their benefits and seniority status with the Department of Education.

(4) Under the direction of the state board, the Office of Education Performance Audits shall receive from the West Virginia education Information System staff research and analysis data on the performance and progress of students, schools and school systems, and shall receive assistance, as determined by the state board, from staff at the State Department of Education, the regional education service agencies, the Center for Professional Development, the Principals Academy and the School Building Authority to carry out the duties assigned to the office.

(5) In addition to other duties which may be assigned to it by the state board or by statute, the Office of Education Performance Audits also shall:

(A) Assure that all statewide assessments of student performance used as annual performance measures are secure as required in section one-a of this article;

(B) Administer all accountability measures as assigned by the state board, including, but not limited to, the following:

(i) Processes for the accreditation of schools and the approval of school systems; and

(ii) Recommendations to the state board on appropriate action, including, but not limited to, accreditation and approval action;

(C) Determine, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, what capacity may be needed by schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the state board and recommend to the state board plans to establish those needed capacities;

(D) Determine, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, whether statewide system deficiencies exist in the capacity of schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the state board, including the identification of trends and the need for continuing improvements in education, and report those deficiencies and trends to the state board;

(E) Determine, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, staff development needs of schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the state board and make recommendations to the state board, the Center for Professional Development, the regional educational service agencies, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the county boards;

(F) Identify, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, school systems and best practices that improve student, school and school system performance and communicate those to the state board for promoting the use of best practices. The state board shall provide information on best practices to county school systems; and

(G) Develop reporting formats, such as check lists, which shall be used by the appropriate administrative personnel in schools and school systems to document compliance with applicable laws, policies and process standards as considered appropriate and approved by the state board, which may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(i) The use of a policy for the evaluation of all school personnel that meets the requirements of sections twelve and twelve-a, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code;

(ii) The participation of students in appropriate physical assessments as determined by the state board, which assessment may not be used as a part of the assessment and accountability system;

(iii) The appropriate licensure of school personnel; and

(iv) The appropriate provision of multicultural activities.

Information contained in the reporting formats is subject to examination during an on-site review to determine compliance with laws, policies and standards. Intentional and grossly negligent reporting of false information are grounds for dismissal of any employee.

(k) On-site reviews. —

(1) The system of education performance audits shall include on-site reviews of schools and school systems which shall be conducted only at the specific direction of the state board upon its determination that circumstances exist that warrant an on-site review. Any discussion by the state board of schools to be subject to an on-site review or dates for which on-site reviews will be conducted may be held in executive session and is not subject to the provisions of article nine-a, chapter six of this code relating to open governmental proceedings. An on-site review shall be conducted by the Office of Education Performance Audits of a school or school system for the purpose of making recommendations to the school and school system, as appropriate, and to the state board on such measures as it considers necessary. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(A) Verifying data reported by the school or county board;

(B) Examining compliance with the laws and policies affecting student, school and school system performance and progress;

(C) Evaluating the effectiveness and implementation status of school and school system electronic strategic improvement plans;

(D) Investigating official complaints submitted to the state board that allege serious impairments in the quality of education in schools or school systems;

(E) Investigating official complaints submitted to the state board that allege that a school or county board is in violation of policies or laws under which schools and county boards operate; and

(F) Determining and reporting whether required reviews and inspections have been conducted by the appropriate agencies, including, but not limited to, the State Fire Marshal, the Health Department, the School Building Authority and the responsible divisions within the department of education, and whether noted deficiencies have been or are in the process of being corrected.

(2) The Director of the Office of Education Performance Audits shall notify the county superintendent of schools five school days prior to commencing an on-site review of the county school system and shall notify both the county superintendent and the principal five school days before commencing an on-site review of an individual school: Provided, That the state board may direct the Office of Education Performance Audits to conduct an unannounced on-site review of a school or school system if the state board believes circumstances warrant an unannounced on-site review.

(3) The Office of Education Performance Audits shall conduct on-site reviews which are limited in scope to specific areas in which performance and progress are persistently below standard as determined by the state board unless specifically directed by the state board to conduct a review which covers additional areas.

(4) The Office of Education Performance Audits shall reimburse a county board for the costs of substitutes required to replace county board employees who serve on a review team.

(5) At the conclusion of an on-site review of a school system, the director and team leaders shall hold an exit conference with the superintendent and shall provide an opportunity for principals to be present for at least the portion of the conference pertaining to their respective schools. In the case of an on-site review of a school, the exit conference shall be held with the principal and curriculum team of the school and the superintendent shall be provided the opportunity to be present. The purpose of the exit conference is to review the initial findings of the on-site review, clarify and correct any inaccuracies and allow the opportunity for dialogue between the reviewers and the school or school system to promote a better understanding of the findings.

(6) The Office of Education Performance Audits shall report the findings of an on-site review to the county superintendent and the principals whose schools were reviewed within thirty days following the conclusion of the on-site review. The Office of Education Performance Audits shall report the findings of the on-site review to the state board within forty-five days after the conclusion of the on-site review. A school or county that believes one or more findings of a review are clearly inaccurate, incomplete or misleading, misrepresent or fail to reflect the true quality of education in the school or county or address issues unrelated to the health, safety and welfare of students and the quality of education, may appeal to the state board for removal of the findings. The state board shall establish a process for it to receive, review and act upon the appeals.

(7) The Legislature finds that the accountability and oversight of some activities and programmatic areas in the public schools are controlled through other mechanisms and agencies and that additional accountability and oversight may be unnecessary, counterproductive and impair necessary resources for teaching and learning. Therefore, the Office of Education Performance Audits may rely on other agencies and mechanisms in its review of schools and school systems

(j) The state board may employ experienced education professionals, who serve at the will and pleasure of the state board, to coordinate on site and school system improvement efforts with staff at the State Department of Education to support schools and school systems in improving education performance measures.

(l) (k) School accreditation. —

(1) The state board shall establish levels of accreditation to be assigned to schools. The establishment of levels of accreditation and the levels shall be subject to the following:

(A) The levels will be designed to demonstrate school performance in all the areas outlined in this section and also those on multiple measures as established by the state board by legislative rule in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code and consistent with the applicable state laws, policies and standards, which include standards for performance-based accountability, high-quality education, and continuous improvement; and

(B) The state board shall promulgate legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to establish the performance and standards required for a school to be assigned a particular level of accreditation; and

(C) The state board will establish the levels of accreditation in such a manner as to minimize the number of systems of school recognition, both state and federal, that are employed to recognize and accredit schools (B) Will ensure compliance with federal law and applicable state laws, policies and standards at a minimum.

(2) The state board annually shall review the information from the system of education performance audits measures submitted for each school and shall issue to every school a level of accreditation as designated and determined by the state board. accredit each school as designated in the rule, and consistent with the applicable state laws, policies and standards; and

(3) The state board, in its exercise of general supervision of the schools and school systems of West Virginia, may exercise any or all of the following powers and actions:

(A) To require a school to revise its electronic strategic plan;

(B) To define extraordinary circumstances under which the state board may intervene directly or indirectly in the operation of a school;

(C) To appoint monitors to work with the principal and staff of a school where extraordinary circumstances are found to exist and to appoint monitors to assist the school principal after intervention in the operation of a school is completed;

(D) To direct a county board to target resources to assist a school where extraordinary circumstances are found to exist;

(E) To intervene directly in the operation of a school and declare the position of principal vacant and assign a principal for the school who will serve at the will and pleasure of the state board. If the principal who was removed elects not to remain an employee of the county board, then the principal assigned by the state board shall be paid by the county board. If the principal who was removed elects to remain an employee of the county board, then the following procedure applies:

(i) The principal assigned by the state board shall be paid by the state board until the next school term, at which time the principal assigned by the state board shall be paid by the county board;

(ii) The principal who was removed is eligible for all positions in the county, including teaching positions, for which the principal is certified, by either being placed on the transfer list in accordance with section seven, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code, or by being placed on the preferred recall list in accordance with section seven-a, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code; and

(iii) The principal who was removed shall be paid by the county board and may be assigned to administrative duties, without the county board being required to post that position until the end of the school term; and

(F) (2) Exercise other powers and actions the state board determines necessary to fulfill its duties of general supervision of the schools and school systems of West Virginia.

(4) The county board may take no action nor refuse any action if the effect would be to impair further the school in which the state board has intervened.

(m) (l) School system approval. — The state board annually shall review the information submitted for each school system from the system of education performance audits measures and issue one of the following approval levels to each county board Full approval, temporary approval, conditional approval or nonapproval  an approval status in compliance with federal law and established by state board rule.

(1) Full approval shall be given to a county board whose schools have all been given full, temporary or conditional accreditation status and which does not have any deficiencies which would endanger student health or safety or other extraordinary circumstances as defined by the state board. A fully approved school system in which other deficiencies are discovered shall remain on full accreditation status for the remainder of the approval period and shall have an opportunity to correct those deficiencies, notwithstanding other provisions of this subsection.

(2) Temporary approval shall be given to a county board whose education system is below the level required for full approval. Whenever a county board is given temporary approval status, the county board shall revise its electronic county strategic improvement plan in accordance with subsection (b) of this section to increase the performance and progress of the school system to a full approval status level. The revised plan shall be submitted to the state board for approval.

(3) Conditional approval shall be given to a county board whose education system is below the level required for full approval, but whose electronic county strategic improvement plan meets the following criteria:

(A) The plan has been revised in accordance with subsection (b) of this section;

(B) The plan has been approved by the state board; and

(C) The county board is meeting the objectives and time line specified in the revised plan.

(4) Nonapproval status shall be given to a county board which fails to submit and gain approval for its electronic county strategic improvement plan or revised electronic county strategic improvement plan within a reasonable time period as defined by the state board or which fails to meet the objectives and time line of its revised electronic county strategic improvement plan or fails to achieve full approval by the date specified in the revised plan.

(m) Nonapproval for extraordinary circumstances.

(A) (1) The state board shall establish and adopt additional standards to identify school systems in which the program may be nonapproved and the state board may issue nonapproval status whenever extraordinary circumstances exist as defined by the state board.

(B) Whenever a county board has more than a casual deficit, as defined in section one, article one of this chapter, the county board shall submit a plan to the state board specifying the county board's strategy for eliminating the casual deficit. The state board either shall approve or reject the plan. If the plan is rejected, the state board shall communicate to the county board the reason or reasons for the rejection of the plan. The county board may resubmit the plan any number of times. However, any county board that fails to submit a plan and gain approval for the plan from the state board before the end of the fiscal year after a deficit greater than a casual deficit occurred or any county board which, in the opinion of the state board, fails to comply with an approved plan may be designated as having nonapproval status.

(C) (2) Whenever nonapproval status is given to a school system, When extraordinary circumstances exist, but do not rise to the level of immediate intervention as described in subsection (n) of this section, the state board shall may declare a state of emergency in the school system and shall appoint a team of improvement consultants to make direct designees to provide recommendations within sixty days of appointment for correcting the emergency extraordinary circumstances. When the state board approves the recommendations, they shall be communicated to the county board. If progress in correcting the emergency extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the state board, is not made within six months from the time the county board receives the recommendations, the state board shall intervene in the operation of the school system to cause improvements to be made that will provide assurances that a thorough and efficient system of schools will be provided. This intervention may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(i) (A) Limiting the authority of the county superintendent and county board as to the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional programs and rules and any other areas in areas that compromise the delivery of a thorough and efficient education to its students as designated by the state board by rule, which may include delegating decision-making authority regarding these matters to the state superintendent who may:

(ii) (B) Declaring Declare that the office of the county superintendent is vacant;

(iii) (C) Declaring Declare that the positions of personnel who serve at the will and pleasure of the county superintendent as provided in section one, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code, are vacant, subject to application and reemployment;

(D) Fill the declared vacancies during the period of intervention; and

(iv) Delegating to the state superintendent both the authority to conduct hearings on personnel matters and school closure or consolidation matters and, subsequently, to render the resulting decisions and the authority to appoint a designee for the limited purpose of conducting hearings while reserving to the state superintendent the authority to render the resulting decisions;

(v) Functioning in lieu of the county board of education in a transfer, sale, purchase or other transaction regarding real property; and

(vi) Taking (E) Take any direct action necessary to correct the emergency including, but not limited to, the following extraordinary circumstance.

(I) Delegating to the state superintendent the authority to replace administrators and principals in low performing schools and to transfer them into alternate professional positions within the county at his or her discretion; and

(II) Delegating to the state superintendent the authority to fill positions of administrators and principals with individuals determined by the state superintendent to be the most qualified for the positions. Any authority related to intervention in the operation of a county board granted under this paragraph is not subject to the provisions of article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code.

(n) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the state board may intervene immediately in the operation of the county school system with all the powers, duties and responsibilities contained in subsection (m) of this section, if the state board finds any of the following:

(1) A county board fails to act on a statutory obligation which would interrupt the day-to- day operations of the school system;

(1) (2) That the conditions precedent to intervention exist as provided in this section; and that delaying intervention for any period of time would not be in the best interests of the students of the county school system; or

(2) (3) That the conditions precedent to intervention exist as provided in this section and that the state board had previously intervened in the operation of the same school system and had concluded that intervention within the preceding five years.

(o) Capacity. — The process for improving education includes a process for targeting resources strategically to improve the teaching and learning process. Development of electronic school and school system strategic improvement plans, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, is intended, in part, to provide mechanisms to target resources strategically to the teaching and learning process to improve student, school and school system performance. When deficiencies are detected through the assessment and accountability processes, the revision and approval of school and school system electronic strategic improvement plans shall ensure that schools and school systems are efficiently using existing resources to correct the deficiencies. When the state board determines that schools and school systems do not have the capacity to correct deficiencies, the state board shall take one or more of the following actions:

(1) Work with the county board to develop or secure the resources necessary to increase the capacity of schools and school systems to meet the standards and, when necessary, seek additional resources in consultation with the Legislature and the Governor;

            (2) Recommend to the appropriate body including, but not limited to, the Legislature, county boards, schools and communities methods for targeting resources strategically to eliminate deficiencies identified in the assessment and accountability processes. When making determinations on recommendations, the state board shall include, but is not limited to, the following methods:

            The state board, or its designee, the West Virginia Department of Education, and county school systems, shall work collaboratively in:

(A) (1) Examining reports and electronic strategic improvement plans regarding the performance and progress of students, schools and school systems relative to the standards and identifying the areas in which improvement is needed;

(B) (2) Determining the areas of weakness and of ineffectiveness that appear to have contributed to the substandard performance and progress of students or the deficiencies of the school or school system; and requiring the school or school system to work collaboratively with the West Virginia Department of Education State System of Support to correct the deficiencies;

(C) (3) Determining the areas of strength that appear to have contributed to exceptional student, school and school system performance and progress and promoting their emulation throughout the system;

(D) (4) Requesting technical assistance from the School Building Authority in assessing or designing comprehensive educational facilities plans;

(E) (5) Recommending priority funding from the School Building Authority based on identified needs;

(F) (6) Providing or recommending to Requesting special staff development programs from the Center for Professional Development, the Principals Academy, higher education, regional educational service agencies and county boards based on identified needs;

(G) (7) Submitting requests to the Legislature for appropriations to meet the identified needs for improving education;

(H) Directing county boards to target their (8) Allocating funds strategically toward alleviating deficiencies;

(I) (9) Ensuring that the need for facilities in counties with increased enrollment are appropriately reflected and recommended for funding;

(J) (10) Ensuring that the appropriate person or entity is held accountable for eliminating deficiencies; and

(K) (11) Ensuring that the needed capacity is available from the state and local level to assist the school or school system in achieving the standards and alleviating the deficiencies.

(p) Building leadership capacity. — To help build the governance and leadership capacity of a county board during an intervention in the operation of its school system by the state board, and to help assure sustained success following return of control to the county board, the state board shall require the county board to shall establish goals and action plans, subject to approval of the state board superintendent, to improve performance sufficiently to end the intervention within a period of not more than five years. The state superintendent shall maintain oversight and provide assistance and feedback to the county board on development and implementation of the goals and action plans. At a minimum, the goals and action plans shall include:

(A) (1) An analysis of the training and development activities needed by the county board and leadership of the school system and schools for effective governance and school improvement;

(B) (2) Support for the training and development activities identified which may include those made available through the state superintendent, regional education service agencies, Center for Professional Development, West Virginia School Board Association, Office of Education Performance Audits, West Virginia Education Information System and other sources identified in the goals and action plans; Attendance at these activities included in the goals and action plans is mandatory as specified in the goals and action plans; and

(C) (3) Active involvement by the county board in the improvement process, working in tandem with the county superintendent to gather, analyze and interpret data, write time-specific goals to correct deficiencies, prepare and implement action plans and allocate or request from the State Board Department of Education the resources, including board development training and coaching, necessary to achieve approved goals and action plans and sustain system and school improvement.

At least once each year during the period of intervention, the Office of Education Performance Audits shall state board shall appoint a designee to assess the readiness of the county board to accept the return of control of the system or school from the state board and sustain the improvements, and shall make a report and recommendations to the state board supported by documented evidence of the progress made on the goals and action plans. The state board may end the intervention or return any portion of control of the operations of the school system or school that was previously removed at its sole determination or end the intervention in its entirety by a majority vote. If the state board determines at the fifth annual assessment that the county board is still not ready to accept return of control by the state board and sustain the improvements, the state board shall hold a public hearing in the affected county at which the attendance by all members of the county board is requested so that the reasons for continued intervention and the concerns of the citizens of the county may be heard. The state board may continue the intervention only after it holds the public hearing and may require revision of the goals and action plans. The state board must thereafter hold a public hearing after each annual assessment beyond the fifth year. If a school system is in intervention status on the effective date of this provision, the total years of intervention shall be calculated from the date of initial intervention.

Following the termination of an intervention in the operation of a school system and return of full control by the state board, the support for governance education and development shall continue as needed for up to three years. If at any time within this three years, the state board determines that intervention in the operation of the school system is again necessary, the state board shall again hold a public hearing in the affected county so that the reasons for the intervention and the concerns of the citizens of the county may be heard prior to intervening.

ARTICLE 5. COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION.


§18-5-13. Authority of boards generally.

Subject to the provisions of this chapter and the rules of the state board, each county board may:

(a) Control and manage all of the schools and school interests for all school activities and upon all school property owned or leased by the county, including:

(1) Requiring schools to keep records regarding funds connected with the school or school interests, including all receipts and disbursements of all funds collected or received by:

(A) Any principal, teacher, student or other person in connection with the schools and school interests;

(B) Any program, activity or other endeavor of any nature operated or conducted by or in the name of the school; and

(C) Any organization or body directly connected with the school;

(2) Allowing schools to expend funds for student, parent, teacher and community recognition programs. A school may use only funds it generates through a fund-raising or donation-soliciting activity. Prior to commencing the activity, the school shall:

(A) Publicize the activity as intended for this purpose; and

(B) Designate for this purpose the funds generated;

(3) Auditing the records and conserving the funds, including securing surety bonds by expending board moneys. The funds described in this subsection are quasipublic funds, which means the moneys were received for the benefit of the school system as a result of curricular or noncurricular activities;

(b) Establish:

(1) Schools, from preschool through high school;

(2) Vocational schools; and

(3) Schools and programs for post-high school instruction, subject to approval of the state board;

(c) Close any school:

(1) Which is unnecessary and assign the students to other schools. The closing shall occur pursuant to official action of the county board. Except in emergency situations when the timing and manner of notification are subject to approval by the state superintendent, the county board shall notify the affected teachers and service personnel of the county board action not later than the first Monday in April. The board shall provide notice in the same manner as set forth in section four of this article; or

(2) Pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e) of this section;

(d) Consolidate schools;

(e) Close any elementary school whose average daily attendance falls below twenty students for two consecutive months. The county board may assign the students to other schools in the district or to schools in adjoining districts. If the teachers in the closed school are not transferred or reassigned to other schools, they shall receive one month's salary;

(f) Provide transportation according to rules established by the county board, as follows:

(1) To provide at public expense adequate means of transportation:

(A) For all children of school age who live more than two miles distance from school by the nearest available road;

(B) For school children participating in county board-approved curricular and extracurricular activities;

(C) Across county lines for students transferred from one district to another by mutual agreement of both county boards. The agreement shall be recorded in the meeting minutes of each participating county board and is subject to the provisions of subsection (h) of this section; and

(D) Within available revenues, for students within two miles distance of the school; and

(2) To provide transportation for participants in projects operated, financed, sponsored or approved by the Bureau of Senior Services. This transportation shall be provided at no cost to the county board. All costs and expenses incident in any way to this transportation shall be borne by the bureau or the local or county affiliate of the bureau;

(3) Any school bus owned by the county board may be operated only by a bus operator regularly employed by the county board, except as provided in subsection (g) of this section;

(4) Pursuant to rules established by the state board, the county board may provide for professional employees to be certified to drive county board-owned vehicles that have a seating capacity of fewer than ten passengers. These employees may use the vehicles to transport students for school-sponsored activities, but may not use the vehicles to transport students between school and home. Not more than one of these vehicles may be used for any school-sponsored activity;

(5) Students may not be transported to a school-sponsored activity in any county-owned or leased vehicle that does not meet school bus or public transit ratings. This section does not prohibit a parent from transporting ten or fewer students in a privately-owned vehicle;

(6) Students may be transported to a school-sponsored activity in a vehicle that has a seating capacity of sixteen or more passengers which is not owned and operated by the county board only as follows:

(A) The state board shall promulgate a rule to establish requirements for:

(i) Automobile insurance coverage;

(ii) Vehicle safety specifications;

(iii) School bus or public transit ratings; and

(iv) Driver training, certification and criminal history record check; and

(B) The vehicle owner shall provide to the county board proof that the vehicle and driver satisfy the requirements of the state board rule; and

(7) Buses shall be used for extracurricular activities as provided in this section only when the insurance coverage required by this section is in effect;

(g) Lease school buses pursuant to rules established by the county board.

(1) Leased buses may be operated only by bus operators regularly employed by the county board, except that these buses may be operated by bus operators regularly employed by another county board in this state if bus operators from the owning county are unavailable.

(2) The lessee shall bear all costs and expenses incurred by, or incidental to the use of, the bus.

(3) The county board may lease buses to:

(A) Public and private nonprofit organizations and private corporations to transport school-age children for camps or educational activities;

(B) Any college, university or officially recognized campus organization for transporting students, faculty and staff to and from the college or university. Only college and university students, faculty and staff may be transported pursuant to this paragraph. The lease shall include provisions for:

(i) Compensation for bus operators;

(ii) Consideration for insurance coverage, repairs and other costs of service; and

(iii) Any rules concerning student behavior;

(C) Public and private nonprofit organizations, including education employee organizations, for transportation associated with fairs, festivals and other educational and cultural events. The county board may charge fees in addition to those charges otherwise required by this subsection;

(h) To provide at public expense for insurance coverage against negligence of the drivers of school buses, trucks or other vehicles operated by the county board. Any contractual agreement for transportation of students shall require the vehicle owner to maintain insurance coverage against negligence in an amount specified by the county board;

(i) Provide for the full cost or any portion thereof for group plan insurance benefits not provided or available under the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Act. Any of these benefits shall be provided:

(1) Solely from county board funds; and

(2) For all regular full-time employees of the county board;

(j) Employ teacher aides; to provide in-service training for the aides pursuant to rules established by the state board; and, prior to assignment, to provide a four-clock-hour program of training for a service person assigned duties as a teacher aide in an exceptional children program. The four-clock-hour program shall consist of training in areas specifically related to the education of exceptional children;

(k) Establish and operate a self-supporting dormitory for:

(1) Students attending a high school or participating in a post high school program; and

(2) Persons employed to teach in the high school or post high school program;

(l) At the county board's discretion, employ, contract with or otherwise engage legal counsel in lieu of using the services of the prosecuting attorney to advise, attend to, bring, prosecute or defend, as the case may be, any matters, actions, suits and proceedings in which the county board is interested;

(m) Provide appropriate uniforms for school service personnel;

(n) Provide at public expense for payment of traveling expenses incurred by any person invited to appear to be interviewed concerning possible employment by the county board, subject to rules established by the county board;

(o) Allow designated employees to use publicly provided carriage to travel from their residences to their workplace and return. The use:

(1) Is subject to the supervision of the county board; and

(2) Shall be directly connected with, required by and essential to the performance of the employee>s duties and responsibilities;

(p) Provide at public expense adequate public liability insurance, including professional liability insurance, for county board employees;

(q) (1) Enter into cooperative agreements with other one or more county boards or educational services cooperative to provide improvements to the instructional needs of each district. The cooperative agreements may be used to employ specialists in a field of academic study or for support functions or services for the field. The agreements are subject to approval by the state board;

(2) Enter into cooperative agreements with one or more county boards to facilitate coordination and cooperation in areas of service to reduce administrative and/or operational costs, including the consolidation of administrative, coordinating, and other county level functions into shared functions to promote the efficient administration and operation of the public school systems including, but not limited to:

(A) Purchasing;

(B) Operation of specialized programs for exceptional children;

(C) Employment of any school personnel as defined in section one, article one, chapter eighteen-a of this code;

(D Professional development;

(E Technology including, but not limited to WVEIS; and

(F) Billing for school-based Medicaid services in schools throughout the state.

Each such cooperative agreement shall be in writing and agreed to by each county board participating in the cooperative agreement. Each cooperative agreement that is an employment agreement may be entered into on a case-by-case basis. Notwithstanding the geographic quadrants as provided in section thirteen-b of this article, school systems may enter into cooperative agreements with any school system in the state.

(3) Enter into a cooperative agreement with other county boards to establish educational services cooperatives as provided in section thirteen-c of this article. 

(r) Provide information about vocational and higher education opportunities to exceptional students. The county board shall provide in writing to the students and their parents or guardians information relating to programs of vocational education and to programs available at state institutions of higher education. The information may include sources of available funding, including grants, mentorships and loans for students who wish to attend classes at institutions of higher education;

(s) Enter into agreements with other county boards for the transfer and receipt of any funds determined to be fair when students are permitted or required to attend school in a district other than the district of their residence. These agreements are subject to the approval of the state board; and

(t) Enter into job-sharing arrangements, as defined in section one, article one, chapter eighteen-a of this code, with its employees, subject to the following provisions:

(1) A job-sharing arrangement shall meet all the requirements relating to posting, qualifications and seniority, as provided in article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code;

(2) Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this code or legislative rule and specifically the provisions of article sixteen, chapter five of this code, a county board that enters into a job-sharing arrangement:

(A) Shall provide insurance coverage to the one employee mutually agreed upon by the employees participating in that arrangement; and

(B) May not provide insurance benefits of any type to more than one of the job-sharing employees, including any group plan available under the State Public Employees Insurance Act;

(3) Each job-sharing agreement shall be in writing on a form prescribed and furnished by the county board. The agreement shall designate specifically one employee only who is entitled to the insurance coverage. Any employee who is not designated is not eligible for state public employees insurance coverage regardless of the number of hours he or she works;

(4) All employees involved in the job-sharing agreement shall meet the requirements of subdivision (3), section two, article sixteen, chapter five of this code; and

(5) When entering into a job-sharing agreement, the county board and the participating employees shall consider issues such as retirement benefits, termination of the job-sharing agreement and any other issue the parties consider appropriate. Any provision in the agreement relating to retirement benefits may not cause any cost to be incurred by the retirement system that is more than the cost that would be incurred if a single employee were filling the position; and

(u) Under rules it establishes for each child, expend an amount not to exceed the proportion of all school funds of the district that each child would be entitled to receive if all the funds were distributed equally among all the children of school age in the district upon a per capita basis.


§18‑5‑13b. County Superintendents’ Advisory Council, purpose, reports.

(a) The County Superintendents’ Advisory Council, (“the Council”) is hereby established. The purpose of the council is to promote collaboration among county districts and to provide input to the State Board of Education and state superintendent on issues facing school systems.

(b) After the effective date of this section, but no later than June 1, 2017, all fifty-five county superintendents shall convene to divide the state into four geographic quadrants for the purpose of carrying out the work of the council as described herein.

(c) County superintendents’ responsibilities –

(1) County superintendents belonging to the same geographic quadrant shall meet to select a county superintendent to represent the geographic quadrant. The method of selection of the representative is at the discretion of each geographic quadrant. The representative of each geographic quadrant will represent the council at the state level.

(2) County superintendents of each geographic quadrant shall meet as necessary to identify coordination and cooperation in areas of service to reduce administrative and/or operational costs, including the consolidation of administrative, coordinating, and other county level functions into shared functions to promote the efficient administration and operation of the public school systems. These areas of service include, but are not limited to, the cooperative agreement areas as provided in subsection (q), section thirteen of this article.

 (d) The representative from each of the four geographic quadrants of the council shall identify issues facing their geographic quadrants and present them at the state level as follows:

(1) Meet semiannually with the State Superintendent of Schools;

(2) Meet annually with the State Board of Education; and

(3) Provide an annual report to Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and the Governor on or before June 30 of each year.

(e) At least one meeting in each geographic quadrant annually shall include on the meeting agenda a discussion of any recommendations of the county boards in the quadrant for changes in laws or policies needed to better empower them to meet the state’s education goals.  A report of these recommendations, if any, shall be included in the annual report to Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and the Governor.


§18‑5‑13c. Educational services cooperatives; purpose; establishment; governance; authorized functions and services.

(a) Pursuant to subsection (q), section thirteen of this article, a county board is authorized to enter into a cooperative agreement with one or more other county boards to establish educational services cooperatives which shall serve as regional units to provide for high quality, cost effective lifelong education programs and services to students, schools, school systems, and communities in accordance with this section. Each educational services cooperative may serve as a regional public multi-service agency to develop, manage, and provide such services or programs as determined by its governing council and as provided in this section or otherwise provided in this code.  All references in this code to regional education service agencies or RESA’s mean an educational services cooperative as authorized under this section.

(b) The regional education service agencies previously established by section twenty-six, article two of this chapter and W. Va. 126CSR72, filed October 15, 2015, and effective November 16, 2015, shall remain and may continue to operate in accordance with said section and rule unless and until modified by a cooperative agreement entered into by county boards within the boundaries of the agency or dissolved by said county boards: Provided, That on July 1, 2018, the regional education service agencies as provided under prior provisions of section twenty-six, article two of this chapter are dissolved. If a regional education service agency is reconfigured pursuant to a cooperative agreement or is dissolved, all property, equipment and records held by the regional education service agency necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section shall be transferred or liquidated and disbursed in accordance with the  following priority order: (1) To any successor educational services cooperative substantially covering the same geographical area; (2) To the county boards who were members of the regional education service agency as agreed upon by those counties; or (3) To the state board or to other appropriate entities as provided by law.

                (c) An educational services cooperative shall be under the direction and control of a governing council consisting of the following members: 

(1) The county superintendent of each county participating in the cooperative agreement;

(2) A member of the board of education from each county participating in the cooperative agreement selected by the county board of education as provided in the bylaws of the cooperative; and

(3) The following representatives, if any, to be selected by the agency administrator with the consent of the governing council:

(A) Representatives of institutions of higher education and community and technical colleges serving the geographical area covered by the cooperative agreement;

(B)  One non-superintendent chief instructional leader employed by a member county;

(C) One school principal employed by a member county;

(D) One teacher employed by a member county; and

(E) Additional members representing business and industry, or other appropriate entities, as the council determines fit to meet its responsibilities.

(d) The governing council of an educational services cooperative:

(1) Shall adopt bylaws concerning the appointment and terms of its members, including the authorization of designees by its members, the selection of officers and their terms, the filling of vacancies, the appointment of task forces and study groups, the evaluation of the executive director and staff and any other provisions necessary for the operation of the cooperative. A quorum for governing council meetings shall be a simple majority of the number of members of each council;

(2) Shall appoint an individual to serve as agency administrator who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the governing council and shall implement the policies of the governing council.

(3) May employ regular full-time and part-time staff, as necessary, after a majority of the members of a regional council, by vote, verify that such employment is necessary for effective provision of services and to perform services or other projects that may require staff and support services for effective implementation. Staff who are hired into a position that requires a specified certification must maintain the certification for the duration of employment. The council is the sole employer of the personnel it employs. Employees of the council are considered state employees for the purposes of participation in the state’s public employees’ insurance and retirement programs.  A recipient of personnel services from cooperative personnel is not deemed an employer because of the exercise of supervision or control over any personnel services provided;

(4) May purchase, hold, encumber and dispose of real property, in the name of the agency, for use as its office or for any educational service provided by the cooperative if a resolution to do so is adopted by a two−thirds vote of the members of the council and then approved by three−fourths of the county boards in the cooperative by majority vote of each county board;

(5) Shall operate as Local Educational Agencies (LEA’s) for financial purposes, including grants and cooperative purchasing, and collectively as essential agencies responsible for performing service functions to the total community. An educational services cooperative is eligible as an LEA to participate in partnership with or on behalf of any county school system or school in those programs that will accomplish implementation of the strategic plan and/or state education initiative of the system or school, or to further statutory priorities consistent with educational services cooperative operations;

(6) May receive, expend and disburse funds from the state and federal governments, from member counties, or from gifts and grants and may contract with county boards of education, the West Virginia Department of Education, institutions of higher education, persons, companies, or other agencies to implement programs and services at the direction of the council, requested by the state board or department or any member county board in the cooperative. An educational services cooperative may also receive funds from profit-generating enterprises, the funds of which will contribute to cooperative initiatives.  Each cooperative is encouraged to partner with member school systems, particularly those designated as low-performing, and other organizations as appropriate to attract and leverage resources available from federal programs to maximize its capacity for meeting the needs of member schools and school systems.  Educational services cooperatives are recognized as eligible LEA’s for the purposes of applying, on behalf of school systems, for grant funds consistent with performing regional services and functions and/or supportive of education initiatives of the cooperative;

(7) Upon the request of one or more county boards of education, or by the state board as permitted or contracted, and if directed by law, an educational services cooperative may assume responsibility for one or more functions otherwise performed by one or more county boards of education;

(8) May offer technical assistance, including targeted comprehensive staff development services, or other technical assistance to any member school or school system, and give priority to those schools and school systems that are found to be out of compliance with a state law or federal law;

(9) Shall serve as repositories of research-based teaching and learning practices, and shall use technology, particularly web-based technology, to ensure maximum access to such practices by public schools in the region and state; and

(10) Shall develop and/or implement any other programs or services as directed by law or the governing council, or requested by individual member counties or groups of member counties subject to available funds.  The educational services cooperative must give priority to low-performing school systems or schools that request programs or services required to implement their strategic plan. Because a standards-based accountability model entails capacity building targeted to meeting specific and often differing needs of schools and school systems for improving their efficiency and improving the performance and progress of their students, the Legislature expects that the assistance and programs developed and/or implemented by the cooperatives may differ among the schools, counties and cooperatives.

(d) The agency administrator of each educational services cooperative shall submit annually a plan to the governing council that identifies the programs and services which are suggested for implementation by the cooperative during the following year.  The plan shall contain components of long-range planning determined by the governing council. These programs and services may include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

(1) Administrative services;

(2) Curriculum development;

(3) Data processing;

(4) Distance learning and other telecommunication services;

(5) Evaluation and research;

(6) Staff development;

(7) Media and technology centers;

(8) Publication and dissemination of materials;

(9) Pupil personnel services;

(10) Planning;

(11) Secondary, postsecondary, community, adult, and adult vocational education;

(12) Teaching and learning services, including services for students with special talents and special needs;

(13) Employee personnel and employment services;

(14) Vocational rehabilitation;

(15) Health, diagnostic, and child development services and centers;

(16) Leadership or direction in early childhood and family education;

(17) Community services;

(18) Fiscal services and risk management programs;

(19) Legal services;

(20) Technology planning, training, and support services;

(21) Health and safety services;

(22) Student academic challenges;

(23) Cooperative purchasing services; and

(24) Other programs and services as may be provided pursuant to other provisions of this Code.

(e) The agency administrator, with advice and assistance of the governing council, may select as its fiscal agent one of the county boards of education comprising the cooperative. The county board so selected may maintain a separate bank account or accounts for the receipt and disbursement of all cooperative funds and perform the accounting functions specified in the policies adopted by the state board. A county board of education serving as a fiscal agent may not initiate action, direct the programs or substitute its judgment for that of the agency administrator as advised by the governing council. The county board of education may reject an action of the agency administrator if sufficient funds are not available, or if it perceives a legal conflict. The agency administrator shall make arrangements for an annual audit to be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Single Audit Act (Office of Management and Budget Circular A-133) and the cost of the audit shall be incurred by the cooperative. Prior to making those arrangements, the agency administrator must coordinate with the respective fiscal agent to ensure the audit addresses all applicable issues.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, employees of educational services cooperatives shall be reimbursed for travel, meals and lodging at the same rate as state employees under the travel management office of the Department of Administration.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, county board members serving on educational services cooperatives may receive compensation at a rate not to exceed $100 per meeting attended, not to exceed fifteen meetings per year. County board members serving on regional councils may be reimbursed for travel at the same rate as state employees under the rules of the travel management office of the Department of Administration. A county board member may not be an employee of an agency.


§18‑5‑45. School calendar.

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Instructional day" means a day within the instructional term which meets the following criteria:

(A) Instruction is offered to students for at least the minimum amount of hours provided by state board rule number of minutes as follows:

(i) For early childhood programs as provided in subsection (d) section forty-four of this article;

(ii) For schools with grade levels kindergarten through and including grade five, 315 minutes of instructional time per day;

(iii) For schools with grade levels six through and including grade eight, 330 minutes of instructional time per day; and

(iv) For schools with grade levels nine through and including grade twelve, 345 minutes of instructional time per day.

 (B) Instructional time is used for instruction and cocurricular activities; and

(C) Other criteria as the state board determines appropriate.

(2) "Cocurricular activities" are activities that are closely related to identifiable academic programs or areas of study that serve to complement academic curricula as further defined by the state board; and

(3) “Instruction delivered through alternative methods” means a plan developed by a county board and approved by the state board for teachers to assign and grade work to be completed by students on days when schools are closed due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

(b) Findings. –

(1) The primary purpose of the school system is to provide instruction for students.

(2) The school calendar, as defined in this section, is designed to define the school term both for employees and for instruction.

(3) The school calendar shall provide for one hundred eighty separate instructional days or an equivalent amount of instructional time as provided in this section.

(c) The county board shall provide a school term for its schools that contains the following:

(1) An employment term that excludes Saturdays and Sundays and consists of at least two hundred days, which need not be successive. The beginning and closing dates of the employment term may not exceed forty-eight weeks;

(2) Within the employment term, an instructional term for students of no less than one hundred eighty separate instructional days, which includes an inclement weather and emergencies plan designed to guarantee an instructional term for students of no less than one hundred eighty separate instructional days: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, a county board may increase the length of the instructional day as defined in this section by at least thirty minutes per day to ensure that it achieves at least an equivalent amount of instructional time within its school calendar and (A) apply up to five days of this equivalent time to cancel days lost due to necessary school closures; and (B) plan within its school calendar and not subject to cancellation and rescheduling as instructional days up to an additional five days or an equivalent portions of days without students present to be used as determined by the county board exclusively for activities by educators at the school level designed to improve instruction: Provided further, That subject to approval of its plan by the state board, a county board may deliver instruction through alternative methods on up to five days when schools are closed due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances and these days are instructional days notwithstanding the closure of schools. The use of equivalent time gained by lengthening the school day to cancel days lost, and the delivery of instruction through alternative methods, both as defined in this section, shall be considered instructional days for the purpose of meeting the 180 separate day requirement and as employment days for the purpose of meeting the 200 day employment term.

(3) Within the employment term, noninstructional days shall total twenty and shall be comprised of the following:

(A) Seven paid holidays;

(B) Election day as specified in section two, article five, chapter eighteen‑a of this code;

(C) Six days to be designated by the county board to be used by the employees outside the school environment, with at least four outside the school environment days scheduled to occur after the one hundred and thirtieth instructional day of the school calendar; and

(D) The remaining days to be designated by the county board for purposes to include, but not be limited to:

(i) Curriculum development;

(ii) Preparation for opening and closing school;

(iii) Professional development;

(iv) Teacher‑pupil‑parent conferences;

(v) Professional meetings;

(vi) Making up days when instruction was scheduled but not conducted; and

(vii) In addition to the faculty senate meeting required prior to the beginning of the instructional term pursuant to section five, article five-a of this chapter, at least four two-hour blocks of time for faculty senate meetings with each two-hour block of time scheduled once at least every forty-five instructional days during the months of October, December, February and April; and

(4) Scheduled out-of-calendar days that are to be used for instructional days in the event school is canceled for any reason.

(d) A county board of education shall develop a policy that requires additional minutes of instruction in the school day or additional days of instruction to recover time lost due to late arrivals and early dismissals.

(e) If it is not possible to complete one hundred eighty separate instructional days with the current school calendar, the county board shall schedule instruction on any available noninstructional day, regardless of the purpose for which the day originally was scheduled, or an out-of-calendar day and the day will be used for instruction of students: Provided, That the provisions of this subsection do not apply to:

(A) (1) Holidays;

(B) (2) Election day;

(C) (3) Saturdays and Sundays.

(f) The instructional term shall commence and terminate on a date selected by the county board.

(g) The state board may not schedule the primary statewide assessment program more than thirty days prior to the end of the instructional year unless the state board determines that the nature of the test mandates an earlier testing date.

(h) The following applies to cocurricular activities:

(1) The state board shall determine what activities may be considered cocurricular;

(2) The state board shall determine the amount of instructional time that may be consumed by cocurricular activities; and

(3) Other requirements or restrictions the state board may provide in the rule required to be promulgated by this section.

(i) Extracurricular activities may not be used for instructional time.

(j) Noninstructional interruptions to the instructional day shall be minimized to allow the classroom teacher to teach.

(k) Prior to implementing the school calendar, the county board shall secure approval of its proposed calendar from the state board or, if so designated by the state board, from the state superintendent.

(l) In formulation of a school's calendar, a county school board shall hold at least two public meetings that allow parents, teachers, teacher organizations, businesses and other interested parties within the county to discuss the school calendar. The public notice of the date, time and place of the public hearing must be published in a local newspaper of general circulation in the area as a Class II legal advertisement, in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty‑nine of this code.

(m) The county board may contract with all or part of the personnel for a longer term of employment.

(n) The minimum instructional term may be decreased by order of the state superintendent in any county declared a federal disaster area and in any county subject to an emergency or disaster declaration by the Governor and where when the event causing the declaration is substantially related to a reduction the loss of instructional days in the county.

(o) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the state board may grant a waiver to a county board for its noncompliance with provisions of chapter eighteen, eighteen‑a, eighteen‑b and eighteen‑c of this code to maintain compliance in reaching the mandatory one hundred eighty separate instructional days established in this section.

(p) The state board shall promulgate a rule in accordance with the provisions of article three‑b, chapter twenty‑nine‑a of this code for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this section.

(q) The amendments to this section during the 2013 regular session of the Legislature shall be effective for school years beginning on or after July 1, 2014, and the provisions of this section existing immediately prior to the 2013 regular session of the Legislature remain in effect for school years beginning prior to July 1, 2014.


ARTICLE 9A. PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPPORT.


§18-9A-8a. Foundation allowance for regional education service agencies.

For the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2006, and for each fiscal year thereafter, the foundation allowance for regional education service agencies shall be equal to sixty-three one-hundredths percent of the allocation for professional educators as determined in section four of this article, but not more than $3,690,750. The allowance shall be distributed to the regional education service agencies in accordance with rules adopted by the state board. The allowance for regional education service agencies shall be excluded from the computation of total basic state aid as provided in section twelve of this article: Provided, That the foundation allowance for regional education service agencies shall be reduced to zero for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2017, and for each fiscal year thereafter.


CHAPTER 18A. SCHOOL PERSONNEL.


ARTICLE 4. SALARIES, WAGES AND OTHER BENEFITS.


§18A-4-14. Duty-free lunch and daily planning period for certain employees.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section seven, article two of this chapter, every teacher who is employed for a period of time more than one half the class periods of the regular school day and every service person whose employment is for a period of more than three and one-half hours per day and whose pay is at least the amount indicated in the state minimum pay scale as set forth in section eight-a of this article shall be provided a daily lunch recess of not less than thirty consecutive minutes, and the employee shall not be assigned any responsibilities during this recess. The recess shall be included in the number of hours worked, and no county shall increase the number of hours to be worked by an employee as a result of the employee being granted a recess under the provisions of this section.

(b) Every teacher who is regularly employed for a period of time more than one half the class periods of the regular school day shall be provided at least one planning period within each school instructional day to be used to complete necessary preparations for the instruction of pupils. No teacher may be assigned any responsibilities during this period, and no county shall increase the number of hours to be worked by a teacher as a result of such teacher being granted a planning period subsequent to the adoption of this section (March 13, 1982). Districts and schools should develop and execute a planning period strategy that best meets their individual needs.

The duration of the planning period shall be in accordance with the following:

(1) For grades where the majority of the student instruction is delivered by only one teacher, the planning period shall be no less than forty minutes; and

(2) For grades where students take separate courses during at least four separate periods of instruction, most usually delivered by different teachers for each subject, the planning period shall be the length of the usual class period taught by the teacher, but no less than forty minutes. Principals, and assistant principals, where applicable, shall cooperate in carrying out the provisions of this subsection, including, but not limited to, assuming control of the class period or supervision of students during the time the teacher is engaged in the planning period. Substitute teachers may also be utilized to assist with classroom responsibilities under this subsection: Provided, That any substitute teacher who is employed to teach a minimum of two consecutive days in the same position shall be granted a planning period pursuant to this section.

(c) Nothing in this section prevents any teacher from exchanging his or her lunch recess or a planning period or any service person from exchanging his or her lunch recess for any compensation or benefit mutually agreed upon by the employee and the county superintendent or his or her agent: Provided, That a teacher and the superintendent or his or her agent may not agree to terms which are different from those available to any other teacher granted rights under this section within the individual school or to terms which in any way discriminate among those teachers within the individual school, and a service person granted rights under this section and the superintendent or his or her agent may not agree to terms which are different from those available to any other service personnel within the same classification category granted rights under this section within the individual school or to terms which in any way discriminate among those service personnel within the same classification category within the individual school.

(d) The state board shall conduct a study on planning periods. The study shall include, but not be limited to, the appropriate length for planning periods at the various grade levels and for the different types of class schedules. The board shall report its findings and recommendations to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability no later than December 31, 2013.

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