H. B. 2850
(By Delegate Jenkins)
[Introduced February 19, 1999; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article five-b, relating
to public education and authorizing universities and
colleges to sponsor community schools in cooperation with
county boards of education.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article five-b, to read
ARTICLE 5B. HIGHER EDUCATION COMMUNITY SCHOOLS.
§18-5B-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Higher
Education Community School Law."
§18-5B-2. Legislative intent.
It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this
article, to provide opportunities for state universities and
colleges to establish and maintain schools that operate in
cooperation with the existing county school structure, as a
method to accomplish all of the following:
(1) Improve pupil learning;
(2) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils;
(3) Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching
(4) Encourage curriculum and assessment development;
(5) Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning
program at the school site;
(6) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the
types of educational opportunities that are available within the
public school system; and
(7) Hold the schools established under this article
accountable for meeting measurable academic standards and provide
the school with a method to establish accountability systems.
As used in this article:
(1) "Agreement" means an agreement between a county board of
education and a university or college establishing a community school under the provisions of this article.
(2) "County board of education" means the county board of
education in the county in which a proposed or an approved
community school is located.
(3) "Higher education community school" means a public
school established and operated under the provisions of this
(4) "State board" means the state board of education.
(5) "State university and college" means a public four-year
college or university with its primary campus in the school
district, with an approved teacher education program that meets
regional or national standards of accreditation.
(6) "Superintendent" means the state superintendent of
§18-5B-4. Authority to create community schools.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, a
state university or college may, pursuant to the provisions of
this article, and with the cooperation of the county board of
education in the county, establish a community school in the
county of where their principal campuses are maintained. State
universities and colleges, with the cooperation of the county
boards of education have the authority to effectuate the
provisions of this article, notwithstanding any other provision
of this chapter or chapters eighteen-a and eighteen-b of this code.
(b) A community school may provide for instruction for
kindergarten through twelfth grade. A community school is not
required to provide instruction for all grades.
§18-5B-5. Powers of community schools.
(a) A community school established under this article has
all powers necessary or desirable to carry out its agreement,
including, but not limited to, the power to:
(1) Adopt a name and seal, as long as any name selected
includes the words "community school";
(2) Sue and be sued, but only to the same extent and upon
the same condition that political subdivisions can be sued;
(3) Acquire real property from public or private sources by
purchase, lease, lease with an option to purchase or gift for use
as a community school facility;
(4) Receive and disburse funds for community school purposes
(5) Make contracts and leases for the procurement of
services, equipment and supplies;
(6) Incur temporary debts in anticipation of the receipt of
(7) Solicit and accept any gifts or grants for community
(b) A community school has all other powers that are necessary to fulfill its agreement and which are not inconsistent
with this article.
§18-5B-6. Community school requirements.
Community schools are required to comply with the following
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this article, a
community school is exempt from statutory requirements
established in this chapter and chapters eighteen-a and
eighteen-b of this code, from rules of the state board and
supervision by the superintendent not specifically applicable to
community schools. Community schools are not exempt from other
statutes applicable to public schools;
(2) A community school is accountable to the parents, the
public and the state, with the delineation of that accountability
reflected in the school's agreement. Strategies for meaningful
parent and community involvement shall be developed and
implemented by each school;
(3) A community school may not unlawfully discriminate in
admissions, hiring or operation;
(4) A community school shall be nonsectarian in all
(5) A community school may not advocate unlawful behavior;
(6) A community school is only subject to the laws and rules
as provided for in this article;
(7) A community school shall participate in any state
assessment and accountability program conducted under article
two-e of this chapter and shall cooperate with the office of
education performance audits which shall annually conduct an
on-site review of the school;
(8) A community school shall provide a minimum of one
hundred eighty days of instruction or nine hundred hours per year
of instruction. Nothing in this subdivision precludes the use of
computer and satellite linkages for delivering instruction to
(9) Trustees of a community school are public officials.
§18-5B-7. Board of trustees.
(a) (1) Each school shall be operated by a board of
trustees. The board consists of the president of the county
board of education and one other board member elected by the
board of education, and the dean of the school of education of
the university or college and two other members appointed by the
president of the university or college. Within thirty days after
all the members representing the board of education and the
university or college are appointed they shall jointly appoint
two additional members. One of the additional members shall be
a parent of a child enrolled in a public school in the county
where the community school is proposed to be located. The other
additional member shall be either, a teacher employed by the county board of education who is teaching in a public school in
the county where the community school is proposed to be located
or, a retired teacher residing in that county.
(2) After the students who will be attending the community
school are selected and the teachers who will be teaching in the
community school are selected the board of trustees shall jointly
appoint two additional members. One of the additional members
shall be a parent of a child who will attend the community
school. The other additional member shall be a teacher who will
be employed to teach in the community school.
(b) The president of the county board of education and the
dean of the school of education shall serve as cochairs for as
long as they remain in their positions. The members elected from
the board of education serve for terms of four years or until
they are no longer on the board of education, whichever occurs
first. They may be reappointed. The members appointed by the
president shall serve for four year terms. If the president
appoints a person to serve on the board of trustees because the
person holds a particular position with the university or
college, the person shall serve only as long as he or she holds
the position. All additional board members serve terms of four
years or until they fail to qualify, as provided in subsection
(a) of this section, whichever occurs first. Members may receive
no compensation for their service on the board, but may be
reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred as a member of the board.
§18-5B-8. Powers of board of trustees.
(a) The board of trustees of a community school has the
responsibility for the operation of the school and the authority
to decide matters related to its operation, including, but not
limited to, budgeting, curriculum and operating procedures,
subject to the school's agreement. The board has the authority
to employ, discharge and contract with necessary professional and
nonprofessional employees subject to the school's agreement and
the provisions of this article.
(b) The board of trustees is a public body as that term is
used in article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code, and a
governing body as that term is used in article nine-a, chapter
six of this code.
§18-5B-9. Establishment of community school, pilot project.
(a) A community school, beginning in a school year prior to
the school year starting in the year two thousand two, may only
be established by West Virginia University or Marshall
University, or both.
(b) A community school may only be established by creating
a new school.
(c) An application to establish a community school shall be
submitted to the county board of education where the community
school will be located by the fifteenth day of November of the school year preceding the school year in which the community
school will be established, except that for a community school
beginning in the school year starting in the year one thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine, an application shall be received by the
first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine.
(d) Within forty-five days of receipt of an application, the
county board of education in which the proposed community school
is to be located shall hold at least one public hearing on the
provisions of the community school application. The hearing is
subject to the provisions of article nine-a, chapter six of this
code. At least forty-five days shall transpire between the first
public hearing and the final decision of the board on the
community school application, except that for a community school
beginning in the school year starting in the year one thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine, only thirty days are required to
transpire between the first public hearing and the final decision
of the board.
(e)(1) Not later than seventy-five days after the first
public hearing on the application, the county board of education
shall grant or deny the application. For a community school
beginning in the school year starting in the year one thousand
nine hundred ninety-nine, the county board of education shall
grant or deny the application no later than thirty days after the
first public hearing.
(2) A community school application submitted under this article shall be evaluated by the county board of education based
on criteria, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) The demonstrated, sustainable support for the community
school plan by teachers, parents, other community members and
students, including comments received at the public hearing held
under subsection (d) of this section;
(B) The capability of the community school, in terms of
support and planning, to provide comprehensive learning
experiences to students pursuant to the adopted agreement;
(C) The extent to which the application considers the
information requested in section ten of this article and conforms
to the legislative intent outlined in section two of this
(D) The extent to which the community school may serve as
a model for other public schools.
(3) A community school application is approved by the county
board of education of a county upon affirmative vote by a
majority of all the members. Formal action approving or denying
the application shall be taken by the county board of education
at a public meeting, with notice or consideration of the
application given by the board, under the provisions of article
nine-a, chapter six of this code.
(4) Written notice of the board's action shall be sent to
the university or college. If the application is denied, the
reasons for the denial including a description of deficiencies in the application shall be clearly stated in the notice sent by the
county board of education to the university or college.
(f) At the option of the university or college a denied
application may be revised and resubmitted to the county board of
education. When an application is revised and resubmitted to the
county board of education, the board may schedule additional
public hearings on the revised application. The board shall
consider the revised and resubmitted application at the first
board meeting occurring at least forty-five days after receipt of
the revised application by the board. For a revised application
resubmitted for a community school desiring to begin in the
school year starting in the year one thousand nine hundred
ninety-nine, the board shall consider the application at the
first board meeting occurring at least thirty days after its
receipt. The board shall provide notice of consideration of the
revised application under the provisions of article nine-a,
chapter six of this code.
§18-5B-10. Contents of application.
An application to establish a community school shall include
all of the following information:
(1) The identification of the community school applicant;
(2) The name of the proposed community school;
(3) The grade or age levels served by the school;
(4) A description of how parental participation will be encouraged in the planning and the operation of the community
(5) The agreement and education goals of the community
school, the curriculum to be offered and the methods of assessing
whether students are meeting educational goals;
(6) The admission policy and criteria for evaluating the
admission of students which shall comply with the requirements of
section thirteen of this article;
(7) Procedures which will be used regarding the suspension
or expulsion of pupils. The procedures shall comply, as
applicable, with section eight, article eight of this chapter and
section one-a, article five chapter eighteen-a of this code;
(8) Information on the manner in which community groups will
be involved in the community school planning process;
(9) The financial plan for the community school and the
provisions which will be made for auditing the school under
article nine, chapter six of this code;
(10) Procedures which shall be established to review
complaints of parents regarding the operation of the community
(11) A description of and address of the physical facility
in which the community school will be located and the ownership
of the facility and any lease arrangements;
(12) Information on the proposed school calendar for the
community school, including the length of the school day and school year consistent with the provisions of section fifteen,
article eight of this chapter;
(13) The proposed faculty and a professional development
plan for the faculty of the community school; and
(14) Whether any agreements have been entered into or plans
developed with the county board of education regarding
participation of the community school students in extracurricular
activities within the county. Notwithstanding any provision to
the contrary, no county of residence may prohibit a student of a
community school from participating in any extracurricular
activity of that county of residence if the student is able to
fulfill all of the requirements of participation in the activity
and the community school does not provide the same
§18-5B-11. Term and form of agreement.
Upon approval of a community school application under
section nine of this article, a written agreement shall be
developed which shall contain the provisions of the community
school application. This written agreement, when approved by
the county board of education and the community school's board of
trustees acts as legal authorization for the establishment of a
community school. This written agreement is legally binding on
both the county board of education and the community school's
board of trustees. The agreement shall be for a period of no less than three, nor more than five years, and may be renewed for
five year periods upon reauthorization by the county board of
The community school facility is exempt from public school
facility rules, except those pertaining to the health or safety
of the pupils.
(a) All resident children in this state qualify for
admission to a community school within the provisions of
subsection (b) of this section. If more students apply to the
community school than the number of attendance slots available in
the school, then students shall be selected on a random basis by
the board of trustees from a pool of qualified applicants meeting
the established eligibility criteria and submitting an
application by the deadline established by the community school.
The community school may give preference in enrollment to a child
of a parent who has actively participated in the development of
the community school and to siblings of students who are
presently, or were previously, enrolled in the community school.
(b)(1) A community school may not discriminate in its
admission policies or practices, except as provided in
subdivision (2) of this subsection, on the basis of intellectual
ability, athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, status as a person with a disability, proficiency in the English
language or any other basis that would be illegal if used by a
county board of education.
(2) A community school may limit admission to a particular
§18-5B-14. School staff.
(a) The board of trustees shall determine the level of
compensation and all terms and conditions of employment of the
staff, except as may otherwise be provided in this article.
Professional staff members of a community school shall hold
appropriate state certification, as determined by the board of
(b) Each community school application shall list the general
qualifications needed to staff any noncertified positions. (c) All employees of a community school shall participate in
the teachers' defined contribution retirement system, provided in
article seven-b of this chapter, to the same extent as if they
were employees of the county board of education. Except, that
employees transferring from a county board of education shall
participate in the retirement system they participated in as an
employee of the board of education. The community school shall
make any required employer's contribution to the county board of
education's retirement plan.
(d) Every employee of a community school shall be provided the same health care benefits as the employee would be provided
if he or she were an employee of the county board of education.
The community school shall make any required employer's
contribution to the county board of education's health plan.
(e) Any public school employee offered employment at a
community school, by its board of trustees, may request a leave
of absence from the employing county board of education for up to
five years in order to work in a community school. Approval for
a leave may not be unreasonably withheld.
(f) Temporary professional employees on leave from a county
board of education may accrue tenure in the noncommunity public
school system the same as they would under article two, chapter
eighteen-a of this code if they had continued to be employed by
that county. Professional employees on leave from a county board
of education retain their continuing contract status rights, as
defined in article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code, in the
school entity from which they came. No temporary professional
employee or professional employee may have tenure rights as
against a community school. Both temporary professional
employees and professional employees continue to accrue seniority
in the school entity from which they came if they return to that
school entity when the leave ends.
(g) Any temporary professional employee or professional
employee who leaves employment at a community school has the
right to return to a comparable position for which the person is properly certified in the school entity which granted the leave
(h) The provisions of subsection (d), section fifteen-c,
article five of this chapter apply to community schools. The
community school shall obtain the information required by that
subsection on all individuals who will have direct contact with
students prior to accepting them for a position with the
§18-5B-15. Funding for community schools.
(a) Funding for a community school shall be provided in the
(1) There may be no tuition charge for a resident student
attending a community school.
(2) The community school shall receive for each student
enrolled no less than the budgeted total expenditure per average
daily membership of the prior school year. This amount shall be
paid by the county board of education in the county of residence
of the community school.
(3) A community school may request the county board of
education in which the community school is located to provide
services to assist the community school to address the specific
needs of special education and exceptional students.
(4) Payments shall be made to the community school in twelve
equal monthly payments, by the fifth day of each month, within the operating school year. A student enrolled in a community
school shall be included in the average daily membership of the
student's county of residence for the purpose of providing
education funding payments pursuant to article nine-a of chapter
eighteen of this code. If a county board of education fails to
make a payment to a community school as prescribed in this clause
the superintendent shall deduct the amount, as documented by the
community school, from any and all state payments made to the
county board of education after receipt of documentation from the
(b) The state board shall provide temporary financial
assistance to a county board of education due to the enrollment
of students in a community school who attended a nonpublic school
in the prior school year in order to offset the additional costs
directly related to the enrollment of those students in a public
community school. The state board shall pay the county board of
education of the county of residence of a student enrolled in a
nonpublic school in the prior school year who is attending a
community school an amount equal to the county board of education
of the county of residence's basic education subsidy for the
current school year divided by the county's average daily
membership for the prior school year. This payment may occur
only for the first year of the attendance of the student in a
community school starting with the school year beginning in one
thousand nine hundred ninety-nine. Total payments of temporary financial assistance to county board of educations on behalf of
a student enrolling in a community school who attended a
nonpublic school in the prior school year shall be limited to
funds appropriated for this program in a fiscal year. If the
total of the amount needed for all students enrolled in a
nonpublic school in the prior school year who enroll in a
community school exceeds the appropriation for the temporary
financial assistance program, the amount paid to a county board
of education for each qualifying student shall be pro rata
reduced. Receipt of funds under this subsection do not preclude
a county board of education or state university or college from
applying for funding grants.
(c) The state board, with funds appropriated by the
Legislature and other available funds, shall create a grant
program to provide temporary transitional funding to a county
board of education due to the budgetary impact relating to any
student attending a community school. A county board of
education that approves a community school may apply for a grant
under this subsection. The state board shall develop criteria
which shall include, but not be limited to, the overall fiscal
impact on the budget of the county board of education resulting
from students of a county attending a community school. The
criteria shall be published in the state register. Payments
under this subsection shall be made for the first year of
operation of the community school.
(d) A community school may receive, hold, manage and use,
absolutely or in trust, any devise, bequest, grant, endowment,
gift or donation of any property, real or personal and/or mixed,
which is made to the community school for any of the purposes of
(e) A trustee of a community school, or any board of
trustees of a community school, or any other person affiliated in
any way with a community school may not demand or request,
directly or indirectly, any gift, donation or contribution of any
kind from any parent, teacher, employee or any other person
affiliated with the community school as a condition for
employment or enrollment or continued attendance of any pupil.
Any donation, gift or contribution received by a community school
shall be given freely and voluntarily.
Students who reside in the county in which the community
school is located shall be provided transportation to the
community school on the same terms and conditions as
transportation is provided to students attending the schools of
§18-5B-17. Tort liability.
(a) For purposes of tort liability, employees of the
community school are considered public employees and the board of
trustees is considered the public employer in the same manner as political subdivisions and local agencies.
(b) The board of risk and insurance management shall provide
adequate liability and other appropriate insurance for a
community school, its employees and the board of trustees of the
community school. The community school is responsible for the
cost of the insurance.
§18-5B-18. Annual reports and assessments.
(a) The county board of education shall annually assess
whether each community school is meeting the goals of its
agreement and shall conduct a comprehensive review prior to
granting a five year renewal of the agreement. The county board
of education shall have reasonable access to the records and
facilities of the community school to ensure that the community
school is in compliance with its agreement and this article and
that requirements for testing, civil rights and student health
and safety are being met.
(b) In order to facilitate the county board of education's
review, each community school shall submit an annual report no
later than the first day of August of each year to the county
board of education and the superintendent.
(c) Five years following the effective date of this article,
the superintendent shall contract with an independent
professional consultant with expertise in public and private
education. The consultant shall receive input from members of the educational community and the public on the community school
program. The consultant shall submit a report to the
superintendent, the governor and the joint committee on
government and finance and an evaluation of the community school
program, which shall include a recommendation on the advisability
of the continuation, modification, expansion or termination of
the program and any recommendations for changes in the structure
of the program.
§18-5B-19. Causes for nonrenewal or termination.
(a) During the term of the agreement or at the end of the
term of the agreement, the county board of education may choose
to revoke or not to renew the agreement based on any of the
(1) One or more material violations of any of the
conditions, standards or procedures contained in the written
agreement approved pursuant to section eleven of this article;
(2) Failure to meet any requirements for student performance
set forth in, or promulgated under, the provisions of article
two-e, chapter eighteen of this code or failure to meet any
performance standard set forth in the written agreement approved
pursuant to section eleven of this article;
(3) Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
management or audit requirements;
(4) Violation of provisions of this article; or
(5) Violation of any provision of law from which the
community school has not been exempted, including federal laws
and regulations governing children with disabilities.
(b) A member of the board of trustees who is convicted of a
felony or any crime involving moral turpitude is immediately
disqualified from serving on the board of trustees.
(c) Any notice of revocation or nonrenewal of an agreement
given by the county board of education shall state the grounds
for the action with reasonable specificity and give reasonable
notice to the board of trustees of the community school of the
date on which a public hearing concerning the revocation or
nonrenewal will be held. The county board of education shall
conduct the hearing, present evidence in support of the grounds
for revocation or nonrenewal stated in its notice and give the
community school reasonable opportunity to offer testimony before
taking final action. Formal action revoking or not renewing a
community school agreement requires an affirmative vote by a
majority of all members of the county board of education at a
public meeting after the public has had thirty days to provide
comments to the board.
(d) When a community school agreement is revoked or is not
renewed, the community school shall be dissolved.
(e) When a community school agreement is revoked or is not
renewed, a student who attended the community school shall apply
to another public school in the student's county of residence. Normal application deadlines will be disregarded under these
circumstances. All student records maintained by the community
school shall be forwarded to the county board of education in
which the student resides.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize State
Universities and Colleges with an accredited education program to
operate public schools in cooperation with the local county Board
of Education. It establishes a pilot project allowing only West
Virginia University and Marshall University to operate public
schools in cooperation with the Monongalia and Cabell County
Boards of Education for school years beginning prior to 2002.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.