H. B. 2955

(By Delegates Caputo, Fragale, Paxton,

Yeager, Martin, Webster and Manchin)

[Introduced February 11, 2003; referred to the

Committee on Education then Finance.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section thirteen, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend and reenact section five, article twenty-nine of said chapter, all relating to the education and state employees grievance board; enlarging the membership of the board from three to seven members; requiring that at least four members will represent the interests of public or education employees; nominating the four will be state organizations representing labor, school service personnel and teachers; increasing the number of board meetings per year from two to four; and limiting county board of education use of legal counsel.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That section thirteen, article five, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended be amended and reenacted; and that section five, article twenty-nine of said chapter be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:


§18-5-13. Authority of boards generally.
The boards, subject to the provisions of this chapter and the rules of the state board, have authority:
(a) To control and manage all of the schools and school interests for all school activities and upon all school property, whether owned or leased by the county, including the authority to require that records be kept of all receipts and disbursements of all funds collected or received by any principal, teacher, student or other person in connection with the schools and school interests, any programs, activities or other endeavors of any nature operated or carried on by or in the name of the school, or any organization or body directly connected with the school, to audit the records and to conserve the funds, which shall be considered quasi-public moneys, including securing surety bonds by expenditure of board moneys;
(b) To establish schools, from preschool through high school, inclusive of vocational schools; and to establish schools and programs, or both, for post high school instruction, subject to approval of the state board of education;
(c) To close any school which is unnecessary and to assign the pupils of the school to other schools: Provided, That the closing shall be officially acted upon and teachers and service personnel involved notified on or before the first Monday in April, in the same manner as provided in section four of this article, except in an emergency, subject to the approval of the state superintendent, or under subdivision (e) of this section;
(d) To consolidate schools;
(e) To close any elementary school whose average daily attendance falls below twenty pupils for two months in succession and send the pupils to other schools in the district or to schools in adjoining districts. If the teachers in the closed school are not transferred or reassigned to other schools, they shall receive one month's salary;
(f) (1) To provide at public expense adequate means of transportation, including transportation across county lines for students whose transfer from one district to another is agreed to by both boards as reflected in the minutes of their respective meetings, for all children of school age who live more than two miles distance from school by the nearest available road; to provide at public expense and according to such rules as the board may establish, adequate means of transportation for school children participating in board-approved curricular and extracurricular activities; and to provide in addition thereto at public expense, by rules and within the available revenues, transportation for those within two miles distance; to provide in addition thereto, at no cost to the board and according to rules established by the board, transportation for participants in projects operated, financed, sponsored or approved by the commission on aging: Provided, That all costs and expenses incident in any way to transportation for projects connected with the commission on aging shall be borne by the commission, or the local or county chapter of the commission: Provided, however, That in all cases the school buses owned by the board of education shall be driven or operated only by drivers regularly employed by the board of education: Provided further, That the county board may provide, under rules established by the state board, for the certification of professional employees as drivers of board-owned vehicles with a seating capacity of less than ten passengers used for the transportation of pupils for school-sponsored activities other than transporting students between school and home: And provided further, That the use of the vehicles shall be limited to one for each school-sponsored activity: And provided further, That buses shall be used for extracurricular activities as provided in this section only when the insurance provided for by this section is in effect;
(2) To enter into agreements with one another as reflected in the minutes of their respective meetings to provide, on a cooperative basis, adequate means of transportation across county lines for children of school age subject to the conditions and restrictions of this subdivision and subdivision (h) of this section;
(g) (1) To lease school buses operated only by drivers regularly employed by the board to public and private nonprofit organizations or private corporations to transport school-age children to and from camps or educational activities in accordance with rules established by the board. All costs and expenses incurred by or incidental to the transportation of the children shall be borne by the lessee;
(2) To contract with any college or university or officially recognized campus organizations to provide transportation for college or university students, faculty or staff to and from the college or university: Provided, That only college and university students, faculty and staff are being transported. The contract shall include consideration and compensation for bus operators, repairs and other costs of service, insurance and any rules concerning student behavior;
(h) To provide at public expense for insurance against the negligence of the drivers of school buses, trucks or other vehicles operated by the board; and if the transportation of pupils is contracted, then the contract for the transportation shall provide that the contractor shall carry insurance against negligence in an amount specified by the board;
(i) To provide solely from county funds for all regular full-time employees of the board all or any part of the cost of a group plan or plans of insurance coverage not provided or available under the West Virginia public employees insurance act;
(j) To employ teacher aides, to provide in-service training for teacher aides, the training to be in accordance with rules of the state board and, in the case of service personnel assuming duties as teacher aides in exceptional children programs, to provide a four-clock-hour program of training prior to the assignment which shall, in accordance with rules of the state board, consist of training in areas specifically related to the education of exceptional children;
(k) To establish and conduct a self-supporting dormitory for the accommodation of the pupils attending a high school or participating in a post high school program and of persons employed to teach in the high school or post high school program;
(l) To employ legal counsel: Provided, That boards may not employ legal counsel for the purpose of dealing with employee grievances;
(m) To provide appropriate uniforms for school service personnel;
(n) To provide at public expense and under rules as established by any county board of education for the payment of traveling expenses incurred by any person invited to appear to be interviewed concerning possible employment by the county board of education;
(o) To allow or disallow their designated employees to use publicly provided carriage to travel from their residences to their workplace and return: Provided, That the usage is subject to the supervision of the board and is directly connected with and required by the nature and in the performance of the employee's duties and responsibilities;
(p) To provide, at public expense, adequate public liability insurance, including professional liability insurance for board employees;
(q) To enter into agreements with one another to provide, on a cooperative basis, improvements to the instructional needs of each county. The cooperative agreements may be used to employ specialists in a field of academic study or support functions or services, for the academic study. The agreements are subject to approval by the state board of education;
(r) To provide information about vocational or higher education opportunities to students with handicapping conditions. The board shall provide in writing to the students and their parents or guardians information relating to programs of vocational education and to programs available at state funded institutions of higher education. The information may include sources of available funding, including grants, mentorships and loans for students who wish to attend classes at institutions of higher education;
(s) To enter into agreements with one another, with the approval of the state board, for the transfer and receipt of any and all funds determined to be fair when students are permitted or required to attend school in a county other than the county of their residence; and
(t) To enter into job-sharing arrangements, as defined in section one, article one, chapter eighteen-a of this code, with its professional employees: Provided, That a job-sharing arrangement shall meet all the requirements relating to posting, qualifications and seniority, as provided for in article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code: Provided, however, That, notwithstanding any provisions of this code or legislative rule and specifically the provisions of article fifteen, chapter five of this code to the contrary, a county board which enters into a job-sharing arrangement wherein two or more professional employees voluntarily share an authorized full-time position shall provide the mutually agreed upon employee coverage but shall not offer insurance coverage to more than one of the job-sharing employees, including any group plan or group plans available under the state public employees insurance act: Provided further, That all employees involved in the job-sharing agreement meet the requirements of subdivision (4), section two, article sixteen, chapter five of this code.
"Quasi-public funds" as used in this section means any money received by any principal, teacher, student or other person for the benefit of the school system as a result of curricular or noncurricular activities.
The board of each county shall expend under rules it establishes for each child an amount not to exceed the proportion of all school funds of the district that each child would be entitled to receive if all the funds were distributed equally among all the children of school age in the district upon a per capita basis.

§18-29-5. Education and state employees grievance board; hearing examiners.

(a) The education and state employees grievance board shall consist of three seven members who are citizens of the state appointed by the governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate for overlapping terms of three years. No two four members may be from the same congressional district, and no more than two four of the appointed members may be from the same political party. At least four board members shall represent the interest of public or education employees as follows: At least two of these four employee members shall be nominated by the largest labor organization in West Virginia; at least one of these four employee members shall be nominated by the largest school service personnel organization in West Virginia; at least one of these four employee members shall be nominated by the largest teacher organization in West Virginia. No person may be appointed to membership on the board who is a member of any political party executive committee or holds any other public office or public employment under the federal government or under the government of this state. Members are eligible for reappointment, and any vacancy on the board shall be filled within thirty days of the vacancy by the governor by appointment for the unexpired term.
A member of the board may not be removed from office except for official misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty, gross immorality or malfeasance, and then only in the manner prescribed in article six, chapter six of this code for the removal by the governor of the state elected officers.
The board shall hold at least two four meetings yearly at times and places as it may prescribe and may meet at other times as may be necessary, the other meetings to be agreed to in writing by at least two of the members. The compensation for members of the board is seventy-five dollars for each calendar day devoted to the work of the board, but not more than seven hundred fifty dollars during any one fiscal year. Each member shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in the performance of board duties, but shall submit a request for reimbursement upon a sworn itemized statement.
The board shall administer the grievance procedure at levels two, three and four, as provided in section five, article six-a, chapter twenty-nine of this code, and as provided for in section four of this article and shall employ at least two full-time hearing examiners on an annual basis and clerical help as is necessary to implement the legislative intent expressed in section one of this article.
In addition to the authorization granted by this section over education employees, the board has jurisdiction over the procedures to be followed in processing grievances filed under article six-a, chapter twenty-nine of this code.
The board shall hire hearing examiners who reside in different regional educational service agency areas unless and until the number of hearing examiners exceeds the number of the areas, at which time two hearing examiners may be from the same area. If a grievant previously before a hearing examiner again brings a grievance, a different hearing examiner is required to hear the grievance upon written request therefor by any party to the grievance. These hearing examiners serve at the will and pleasure of the board.
The board shall submit a yearly budget and shall report annually to the governor and Legislature regarding receipts and expenditures, number of level four hearings conducted, synopses of hearing outcomes and other information as the board determines appropriate. The board shall further evaluate on an annual basis the level four grievance process and the performance of all hearing examiners and include the evaluation in the annual report to the governor and Legislature. In making the evaluation, the board shall notify all institutions, employee organizations and all grievants participating in level four grievances in the year for which evaluation is being made and shall provide for the submission of written comment or the hearing of testimony regarding the grievance process, or both. The board shall provide suitable office space for all hearing examiners in space other than that utilized by any institution as defined in section two of this article and shall ensure that reference materials are generally available.
The board is authorized to promulgate rules consistent with the provisions of this article; the rules shall be adopted in accordance with chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(b) Hearing examiners may consolidate grievances, allocate costs among the parties in accordance with section eight of this article, subpoena witnesses and documents in accordance with the provisions of section one, article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, provide relief found fair and equitable in accordance with the provisions of this article, and exercise other powers as provides for the effective resolution of grievances not inconsistent with any rules of the board or the provisions of this article.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to increase the opportunity for a more equitable body for the hearing of grievances made by state and education employees.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.