H. B. 2197

(By Delegates Perry, Beach, Manuel, Romine and Poling)

(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)

[February 27, 2003]

A BILL to amend and reenact section five, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to limiting authority of board members to act outside the scope of statutory authority.

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


§18-5-5. Corporate character and general powers of board; exemption of school property from legal process and taxes; acting outside the scope of authority of individual board members.

(a) The county board of education shall be a corporation by the name of "The board of education of the county of ..........," and as such may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, contract and be contracted with. It shall succeed and be subrogated to all the rights of former magisterial and independent district boards and may institute and maintain any and all actions, suits and proceedings now pending or which might have been brought and prosecuted in the name of any former board for the recovery of any money or property, or damage to any property due to or vested in the former board, and shall also be liable in its corporate capacity for all claims legally existing against the board of which it is a successor. The board shall, according to law, hold and dispose of any real estate or personal property belonging to the former corporation or its predecessors, or that may hereafter come into its possession.
(b) The board according to law and the intent of the instrument conferring title, shall receive, hold and dispose of any gift, grant or bequest.
(c) All public school property used for school purposes shall be exempt from execution or other process, and free from lien or distress for taxes or municipal, county or state levies.
Except where expressly authorized by law, a member of a county board of education acting in an individual capacity separate from the setting of a county board of education convened for the transaction of business shall not make obligations on behalf of the board, commit the board's funds, utilize the board's property, employees or services without prior knowledge and consent of the board, administer the school system, hire board employees, supervise or evaluate the board's employee's or students, disregard the policies of the board or rules of its schools or attempt to exercise any other authority relating to the county schools or school board outside the scope of authority expressly provided by statute.
(e) A member of the board who violates any provision of subsection (d) of this section is personally liable for all costs and personal judgments incurred as a result of the violation, including attorney fees.