The West Virginia schools for deaf pupils and blind pupils heretofore established and located at Romney, in Hampshire County, shall be continued and shall be known as the "West Virginia schools for the deaf and the blind." The schools shall be maintained for the care and education of the deaf youth and blind youth of the state. The educational or business affairs of the schools shall be under the control, supervision and management of the state Board of Education, and the state board shall employ the superintendent, principals, teachers and other employees and shall fix the yearly or monthly salary to be paid to each person so employed.
The minimum salary scale for said principals, teachers and other employees shall be the same as set forth in sections two, three and eight-a, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code.
Deaf and/or blind youth residents in the state, between the ages of five and twenty-three, inclusive, shall be enrolled in the schools on application to the superintendent, until the schools are filled. Applicants shall be admitted by the superintendent on the basis of need and degree of impairment as determined by the schools' admissions committee. It shall be the duty of the superintendent to keep a careful record of the names of all applicants with the dates of their admission and discharge, their ages, post-office addresses, the names of their parents or guardians, and the degree, cause and circumstances of their deafness or blindness.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the school from providing special education programs including, but not limited to, classes, parent education, home teaching or visiting teacher services for deaf and blind children from birth. The schools may also enter into contractual arrangements with counties to provide evaluation, short-term instruction and other educational services, including direct instruction.
Any deaf or blind youth who is not a resident of the State of West Virginia may apply to the state board for admission to the school. The state board may approve such admission: Provided, That such youth shall be required to pay all related costs of attending the school.
All such deaf pupils and blind pupils shall be admitted to the schools without charge for board and tuition. When not otherwise provided with clothing they shall be furnished therewith by the institution while they are pupils therein, and the superintendent shall make out an account therefor in each case against the county where the pupil receiving the clothing resided at the time the clothing was furnished, in an amount not exceeding $75 per annum for any one pupil, which account shall be sworn to by the superintendent and countersigned by the business manager and shall be transmitted by the superintendent to the Auditor of the state, who shall forward a copy thereof to the clerk of the county court of such county. The county court shall, at its next levy term, provide for the payment of the same and cause the amount to be paid directly to the West Virginia schools for the deaf and the blind to be deposited into the indigent clothing fund. All money so received shall be disbursed upon requisitions for the payment of accounts incurred thereunder. If any such accounts are not paid within a reasonable time after such levy term, it shall be the duty of the Auditor to collect the same.
The pupils of said schools may continue therein until completion of the prescribed course of study, or a lesser period of time which the condition and progress of the pupils may justify, as determined by the state Board of Education upon recommendation of the school's superintendent. After all applicants between the prescribed ages of five and twenty-three years, inclusive, who are deaf or blind individuals working toward completion of the requirements for high school graduation have been enrolled, if there are additional accommodations, the superintendent, on recommendation of the admissions committee, may enroll other deaf pupils and blind pupils who first are of preschool age, and second are post-secondary students up to twenty-three years of age who have completed the requirements for high school graduation, and upon such terms as the state Board of Education may prescribe; but it shall be distinctly understood that such persons shall withdraw from the institution in the order of their admission to make room for new applicants between the ages prescribed in section two of this article.
Vocational education and other educational services may be provided for deaf and blind students beyond age twenty- three in cooperation with the division of vocational rehabilitation.
The course of instruction in the institution shall be prescribed by the state Board of Education with the advice of the superintendent, and shall be as extensive in the intellectual, musical, vocational, and prevocational departments as the capacities and interests of the pupils may require.
In addition to their other duties the county assessors of the state are hereby required to register the names of all deaf persons and blind persons under eighteen years of age in their respective counties, with the degree and cause of deafness and blindness in each case, as far as can be ascertained from the heads of the families or from other persons whom the county assessors may conveniently consult, their ages, the names of their parents or guardians, their post-office addresses, and such other facts as may be useful in making the institution efficient in the education of the deaf and of the blind. They shall complete the registration on or before June one of each year and forward their report to the State Superintendent of Schools and to the superintendent of the West Virginia schools for the deaf and the blind on or before July one of each year. The superintendent shall immediately communicate with the parents or guardians of all the deaf persons and the blind persons mentioned in the assessor's report, with a view of their admission as pupils into said schools.
The state Board of Education may, from time to time, sell and transfer such part or portion of the lands comprising the West Virginia schools for the deaf and the blind as the board may deem surplus to the needs of such schools, and shall expend the proceeds therefrom for the maintenance, operation and improvement of such schools.
Before entering upon their duties, all teachers shall execute a contract with the state board, which contract shall state the salary to be paid and shall be in the form prescribed by the state superintendent. Every such contract shall be signed by the teacher and by the president and secretary of the state board.
A teacher's contract, under this section, shall be for a term of not less than one nor more than three years; and if, after three years of such employment, the teacher who holds a professional certificate, based on at least a bachelor's degree, has met the qualifications for the same, and the state board enter into a new contract of employment, it shall be a continuing contract.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the state board may suspend or dismiss any teacher, auxiliary personnel or service personnel, subject to the provisions of this article, for immorality, incompetency, cruelty, insubordination, intemperance or willful neglect of duty. The charges shall be stated in writing and the teacher, auxiliary personnel or service personnel affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard by the state board, sitting as a hearing board, or by an assigned hearing examiner employed by the state board to preside at the taking of evidence upon not less than ten days' written notice. A hearing examiner shall prepare his or her own proposed finding and recommendation, make copies of the findings available to the parties and then submit the entire record to the state board for final decision. The state board shall set a time and place for hearing of arguments by the parties on the record at a regular meeting of the state board or at a special meeting called for that purpose and shall deliberate and issue a decision at the conclusion of arguments. Written notice of the final decision shall be served within five days of the state board's consideration of the matter.
The state board is authorized to employ such auxiliary and service personnel as is deemed necessary for meeting the needs of the schools for the deaf and blind. Before entering upon their duties such personnel shall execute with the board a written contract which may be in a letter form and shall state the classification and terms of work, the employment period and pay, and shall certify that said employment has been made a matter of minute record. The letter shall provide space for an acceptance provision and shall be signed and returned to the board by the employee, or otherwise he shall forfeit his right to employment.
After three years of acceptable employment each auxiliary and service personnel, at the end of his contractual period of employment shall be notified in writing on or before May 1 in the year in which such employment shall terminate if he is not to be reemployed for the ensuing year. Such notice shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, and the employee shall have the right of a hearing before the state board, if requested, before final action is taken by the board upon the termination of such employment.