H. B. 2118
(By Delegate Perry)
[Introduced January 12, 2011; 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 penalty for violations.
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 on the first Monday in July, and upon the dates provided by law for the laying of levies, 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 constitutes 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 meetings.
(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; exception of school property from legal process and taxes; personal liability for unauthorized actions and obligations made by individual members.
(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 is 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, 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 any provision of subsection (d) of this section may constitute malfeasance in office warranting the removal of the member from office pursuant to section seven, article six, chapter six of this code.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to recusal of board members during certain votes and prohibit individual county board of education members from acting on behalf of the board in an individual capacity unless authorized by law. The bill also assesses personal liability for violations.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.