H. B. 4779

(By Delegates Mezzatesta, Stemple and Williams)

(Originating in the House Committee on Education)

[February 28, 2000]

A BILL to amend and reenact section fifteen, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend and reenact section five, article five-a of said chapter, all relating to county boards of education; school term; employment term; instructional term; exceptions; instructional time banked; attendance rates; limitations on noninstructional and out of school environment days; school calendar study and report; levies; suspension and expulsion; ages of person to whom schools are open; faculty senates; faculty senate officers, powers and duties; schedules; and continuing education requirements.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section fifteen, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that section five, article five-a of said chapter be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

§18-5-15. School term; exception; levies; ages of persons to whom schools are open.

(a) The board shall provide a school term for its schools which shall be comprised of: (1) An employment term for teachers; and (2) an instructional term for pupils. Nothing in this section shall prohibit prohibits the establishment of year- round schools in accordance with rules to be established by the state board.
The employment term for teachers shall be no less than ten months, a month to be defined as twenty employment days exclusive of Saturdays and Sundays: Provided,
That the board may contract with all or part of the personnel for a longer term. The employment term shall be fixed within such beginning and closing dates as established by the state board: Provided, however, That the time between the beginning and closing dates does not exceed forty-three weeks.
Within the employment term there shall be an instructional term for pupils of not less than one hundred eighty nor more than one hundred eighty-five instructional days: Provided,
That the minimum instructional term may be decreased, by order of the state superintendent of schools, in any West Virginia county declared to be a federal disaster area by the federal emergency management agency. Instructional and noninstructional activities may be scheduled during the same employment day. Noninstructional interruptions to the instructional day shall be minimized to allow the classroom teacher to teach. The instructional term shall commence no earlier than the twenty- sixth day of August and shall terminate no later than the eighth day of June: Provided, however, That the state board of education shall evaluate data which shall be submitted by each county by the first of June, one thousand nine hundred ninety- four, regarding the climate control conditions, such as air conditioning and related information at each school in the county, and how these conditions impact on the instructional term Provided, however, That upon a showing of an historic pattern of lost instructional days, occasioned by school cancellations required by conditions of weather, the state board of education may authorize any county board that petitions the state board for a waiver to commence the instructional term up to five instructional days prior to the twenty-sixth day of August.
Each year when establishing its school calendar, a county board shall make its first priority that students receive a minimum of one hundred eighty days of instruction. Therefore, a county board shall consider all measures to ensure that the minimum requirement is met when scheduling out of the school environment days and noninstructional days.
The criterion referenced test mandated in section two, article two-e of this chapter shall not be required to be given during school year one thousand nine hundred ninety-three-- ninety-four.
Noninstructional days in the employment term may be used for making up canceled instructional days, curriculum development, preparation for opening and closing of the instructional term, in-service and professional training of teachers, teacher-pupil- parent conferences, professional meetings and other related activities. The preparation day may not be used to hold a county-wide meeting for teachers. In addition, each board shall designate and schedule for teachers and service personnel six days to be used by the employee outside the school environment. However, no more than eight noninstructional days, except holidays, may be scheduled prior to the tenth day of January in a school term.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law to the contrary If the board has canceled instructional days equal to the difference between the total instructional days scheduled and one hundred seventy-eight each succeeding instructional day canceled shall be rescheduled, utilizing only all the remaining noninstructional days, except holidays, following such the cancellation, which are available prior to the second day before the end of the employment term established by such the county board.
Where the employment term overlaps a teacher's or service personnel's participation in a summer institute or institution of higher education for the purpose of advancement or professional growth, the teacher or service personnel may substitute, with the approval of the county superintendent, such participation for not more than five of the noninstructional days of the employment term.
The state department of education shall conduct a study of the school calendars of the school districts in the states which comprise the southern regional education board. The department shall present a report of its findings to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability no later than the thirtieth day of November, two thousand. The study shall include such factors as: The number of instructional days actually delivered during the latest school year for which the data is available; the number of days used for noninstructional activities; the number of hours in the employment day; the number of hours in the instructional day; the amount of time scheduled for planning periods; the amount of time scheduled for co- curricular and extra-curricular activities during the instructional day; the amount of time used in completing reports and performing clerical tasks; and whether each county board demonstrates, in establishing its school calendar, that providing the required one hundred eighty days of instruction for students is its first priority. The board may extend the instructional term beyond one hundred eighty-five instructional days provided the employment term is extended an equal number of days. If the state revenues and regular levies, as provided by law, are insufficient to enable the board of education to provide for the school term, the board may at any general or special election, if petitioned by at least five percent of the qualified voters in the district, submit the question of additional levies to the voters. If at the election a majority of the qualified voters cast their ballots in favor of the additional levy, the board shall fix the term and lay a levy necessary to pay the cost of the additional term. The additional levy fixed by the election shall may not continue longer than five years without submission to the voters. The additional rate shall may not exceed by more than one hundred percent the maximum school rate prescribed by article eight, chapter eleven of the code, as amended this code.
(b) The public schools shall be open for the full instructional term to all persons who have attained the entrance age as stated in section five, article two and section eighteen, article five, chapter eighteen of this code: Provided, That any student suspended or expelled from public or private school shall only be permitted to enroll in public school upon the approval of the superintendent of the county where the student seeks enrollment: Provided, however, That in making such decision, the principal of the school in which the student may enroll shall be consulted by the superintendent and the principal may make a recommendation to the superintendent concerning the student's enrollment in his or her new school: Provided further,
That if enrollment to public school is denied by the superintendent, the student may petition the board of education where the student seeks enrollment.
Persons over the age of twenty-one may enter only those programs or classes authorized by the state board of education and deemed appropriate by the county board of education conducting any such program or class: Provided,
That authorization for such programs or classes shall in no way serve to affect or eliminate programs or classes offered by county boards of education at the adult level for which fees are charged to support such programs or classes.

§18-5A-5. Public school faculty senates established; election of officers; powers and duties.
(a) There is established at every public school in this state a faculty senate which shall be comprised of all permanent, full-time professional educators employed at the school who shall all be voting members. Professional educators as used in this section means professional educators as defined in chapter eighteen-a of this code. A quorum of more than one half of the voting members of the faculty shall be present at any meeting of the faculty senate at which official business is conducted. Prior to the beginning of the instructional term each year, but within the employment term, the principal shall convene a meeting of the faculty senate to elect a chair, vice chair and secretary and discuss matters relevant to the beginning of the school year. The vice chair shall preside at meetings when the chair is absent. Meetings of the faculty senate shall be held on a regular basis as determined by a schedule approved by the faculty senate and amended from time to time if needed. Emergency meetings may be held at the call of the chair or a majority of the voting members by petition submitted to the chair and vice chair. An agenda of matters to be considered at a scheduled meeting of the faculty senate shall be available to the members at least two employment days prior to the meeting, and in the case of emergency meetings as soon as possible prior to the meeting. The chair of the faculty senate may appoint such committees as may be desirable to study and submit recommendations to the full faculty senate, but the acts of the faculty senate shall be voted upon by the full body.
(b) In addition to any other powers and duties conferred by law, or authorized by policies adopted by the state or county board of education or bylaws which may be adopted by the faculty senate not inconsistent with law, the powers and duties listed in this subsection are specifically reserved for the faculty senate. The intent of these provisions is neither to restrict nor to require the activities of every faculty senate to the enumerated items except as otherwise stated. Each faculty senate shall organize its activities as it deems most effective and efficient based on school size, departmental structure and other relevant factors.
(1) Each faculty senate shall control funds allocated to the school from legislative appropriations pursuant to section nine, article nine-a of this chapter. From such funds, each classroom teacher and librarian shall be allotted fifty dollars for expenditure during the instructional year for academic materials, supplies or equipment which in the judgment of the teacher or librarian will assist him or her in providing instruction in his or her assigned academic subjects, or shall be returned to the faculty senate: Provided, That nothing contained herein shall prohibit such prohibits those funds from being used for programs and materials that, in the opinion of the teacher, enhance student behavior, increase academic achievement, improve self-esteem and address the problems of students at-risk. The remainder of funds shall be expended for academic materials, supplies or equipment in accordance with a budget approved by the faculty senate. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law to the contrary, funds not expended in one school year shall be available for expenditure in the next school year: Provided, however, That the amount of county funds budgeted in a fiscal year shall may not be reduced throughout the year as a result of the faculty appropriations in the same fiscal year for such materials, supplies and equipment. Accounts shall be maintained of the allocations and expenditures of such the funds for the purpose of financial audit. Academic materials, supplies or equipment shall be interpreted broadly, but shall does not include materials, supplies or equipment which will be used in or connected with interscholastic athletic events.
(2) A faculty senate may establish a process for faculty members to interview new prospective professional educators and paraprofessional employees at the school and submit recommendations regarding employment to the principal, who may also make independent recommendations, for submission to the county superintendent: Provided, That such the process must permit the timely employment of persons to perform necessary duties.
(3) A faculty senate may nominate teachers for recognition as outstanding teachers under state and local teacher recognition programs and other personnel at the school, including parents, for recognition under other appropriate recognition programs and may establish such programs for operation at the school.
(4) A faculty senate may submit recommendations to the principal regarding the assignment scheduling of secretaries, clerks, aides and paraprofessionals at the school.
(5) A faculty senate may submit recommendations to the principal regarding establishment of the master curriculum schedule for the next ensuing school year.
(6) A faculty senate may establish a process for the review and comment on sabbatical leave requests submitted by employees at the school pursuant to section eleven, article two of this chapter.
(7) Each faculty senate shall elect three faculty representatives to the local school improvement council established pursuant to section two of this article.
(8) Each faculty senate may nominate a member for election to the county staff development council pursuant to section eight, article three, chapter eighteen-a of this code.
(9) Each faculty senate shall have an opportunity to make recommendations on the selection of faculty to serve as mentors for beginning teachers under beginning teacher internship programs at the school.
(10) A faculty senate may solicit, accept and expend any grants, gifts, bequests, donations and any other funds made available to the faculty senate: Provided, That the faculty senate shall select a member who shall have has the duty of maintaining a record of all funds received and expended by the faculty senate, which record shall be kept in the school office and shall be subject to normal auditing procedures.
(11) On or after the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety-two Any faculty senate may review the evaluation procedure as conducted in their school to ascertain whether such the evaluations were conducted in accordance with the written system required pursuant to section twelve, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code and the general intent of this Legislature regarding meaningful performance evaluations of school personnel. If a majority of members of the faculty senate determine that such the evaluations were not so conducted, they shall submit a report in writing to the state board of education: Provided, That nothing herein shall create creates any new right of access to or review of any individual's evaluations.
(12) Each faculty senate shall be provided by its local board of education at least a two-hour per month block of noninstructional time within the school day. Provided, That any such designated day shall constitute a full instructional day. This time may be utilized and determined at the local school level and shall include, but not be limited to, faculty senate meetings. Each county board of education shall annually establish a faculty senate meeting schedule. A total of four two-hour meetings shall be scheduled on instructional days. Such meetings may be accommodated by either a late arrival or early departure of students. Three faculty senate meetings shall be scheduled on noninstructional days. Up to three additional faculty senate meetings may be provisionally scheduled on instructional days that are required to be canceled. Faculty senate meetings, except provisionally scheduled meeting, may not be scheduled closer than three weeks apart. Provided, That when a two-hour block of noninstructional time is conducted for faculty senate meetings on a noninstructional day during which continuing education is conducted, the faculty senate two-hour block shall be credited toward the continuing education requirements of each participating faculty member. Each county board shall, in so far as possible, attempt to coordinate the faculty senate schedule so as to avoid undue hardships on teachers or parents who work in one county and reside in an adjoining county. Each county board shall publish the faculty senate meeting schedule prior to the commencement of each instructional term.
(13) Each faculty senate shall develop a strategic plan to manage the integration of special needs students into the regular classroom at their respective schools and submit said the strategic plan to the superintendent of the county board of education by the thirtieth day of June, one thousand nine hundred ninety-five, and periodically thereafter periodically pursuant to guidelines developed by the state department of education. Each faculty senate shall encourage the participation of local school improvement councils, parents and the community at large in the development of the strategic plan for each school.
Each strategic plan developed by the faculty senate shall include at least: (A) A mission statement; (B) goals; (C) needs; (D) objectives and activities to implement plans relating to each goal; (E) work in progress to implement the strategic plan; (F) guidelines for the placement of additional staff into integrated classrooms to meet the needs of exceptional needs students without diminishing the services rendered to the other students in integrated classrooms; (G) guidelines for implementation of collaborative planning and instruction; and (H) training for all regular classroom teachers who serve students with exceptional needs in integrated classrooms.