H. B. 2398
(By Delegate Perry)
[Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18-5-4 and §18-5-5 of the Code of West
Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to county boards of
education generally; providing for disclosure of personal and
pecuniary interests and recusal from voting; prohibiting
individual board members from acting on behalf of the board in
an individual capacity unless authorized by statute; and
providing that a violation by a member of a board member may
constitute malfeasance warranting the removal of the member
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18-5-4 and §18-5-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931,
as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION.
§18-5-4. Meetings; employment and assignment of teachers; budget hearing; compensation of members; affiliation with
state and national associations.
(a) The county board shall meet upon the dates provided by
law, and at any other times the county board fixes upon its
records. Subject to adequate public notice, nothing in this
section prohibits the county board from conducting regular meetings
in facilities within the county other than the county board office.
At any meeting as authorized in this section and in compliance with
the provisions of chapter eighteen-a of this code, the county board
may employ qualified teachers, or those who will qualify by the
time they enter upon their duties, necessary to fill existing or
anticipated vacancies for the current or next ensuing school year.
Meetings of the county board shall be held in compliance with the
provisions of chapter eighteen-a of this code for purposes relating
to the assignment, transfer, termination and dismissal of teachers
and other school employees.
(b) Special meetings may be called by the president or any
three members, but no business may be transacted other than that
designated in the call.
(c) In addition, a public hearing shall be held concerning the
preliminary operating budget for the next fiscal year not fewer
than ten days after the budget has been made available to the
public for inspection and within a reasonable time prior to the
submission of the budget to the state board for approval. Reasonable time shall be granted at the hearing to any person who
wishes to speak regarding any part of the budget. Notice of the
hearing shall be published as a Class I legal advertisement in
compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine
of this code.
(d) A majority of the members of the county board is the
quorum necessary for the transaction of official business.
(e) When a question is put to a vote of the board, any member
having a direct personal or pecuniary interest therein shall
announce this fact and request to be excused from voting. The
member may be excused from voting if in the opinion of the
presiding chair the disqualifying interest affects the member
directly and not as one of a class.
(e) (f) Board members may receive compensation at a rate not
to exceed $160 per meeting attended, but they may not receive pay
for more than fifty meetings in any one fiscal year. Board members
who serve on an administrative council of a multicounty vocational
center also may receive compensation for attending up to twelve
meetings of the council at the same rate as for meetings of the
county board. Meetings of the council are not counted as board
meetings for purposes of determining the limit on compensable board
(f) (g) Members also shall be paid, upon the presentation of
an itemized sworn statement, for all necessary traveling expenses, including all authorized meetings, incurred on official business,
at the order of the county board.
(g) (h) When, by a majority vote of its members, a county
board considers it a matter of public interest, the county board
may join the West Virginia School Board Association and the
National School Board Association and may pay the dues prescribed
by the associations and approved by action of the respective county
boards. Membership dues and actual traveling expenses incurred by
board members for attending meetings of the West Virginia School
Board Association may be paid by their respective county boards out
of funds available to meet actual expenses of the members, but no
allowance may be made except upon sworn itemized statements.
§18-5-5. Corporate character and general powers of board; exemption
of school property from legal process and taxes.
(a) The county board of education
shall be is 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.
_______________(d) 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 may 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. Nor shall he or she administer the school system, hire
board employees, supervise or evaluate the board's employees 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) The violation by a member of the board of subsection (d) of this section constitutes malfeasance in office warranting the
removal of the member from office pursuant to section seven,
article six, chapter six of this code.
The purpose of this bill is to require any member of a
county board of education having a direct personal or pecuniary
interest in a matter before the board to announce the fact and
request to be excused from voting
. The bill prohibits individual
board members from acting on behalf of the board in an individual
capacity unless authorized by statute. The bill provides that a
violation by a board member may constitute malfeasance warranting
the removal of the member from office
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would