Senate Bill No. 7

(By Senators Hunter and Love)


[Introduced January 8, 2003; referred to the Committee on Education.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section two, article two, chapter eighteen-a of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the term of contract for a person hired as a coach in the county school system.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two, article two, chapter eighteen-a of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§18A-2-2. Employment of teachers; contracts; continuing contract status; how terminated; dismissal for lack of need; released time; failure of teacher to perform contract or violation thereof.

(a) Before entering upon their duties, all teachers shall execute a contract with their boards of education, which contract shall state the salary to be paid and shall be in the form prescribed by the state superintendent of schools. Every such contract shall be signed by the teacher and by the president and secretary of the board of education and when so signed shall be filed, together with the certificate of the teacher, by the secretary of the office of the board.
(b) A teacher's contract, under this section, shall be for a term of not less than one nor more than three years, one of which shall be for completion of a beginning teacher internship pursuant to the provisions of section two-b, article three of this chapter, if applicable; 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 board of education enter into a new contract of employment, it shall be a continuing contract: Provided, That any teacher holding a valid certificate with less than a bachelor's degree who is employed in a county beyond the said three-year probationary period shall upon qualifying for said professional certificate based upon a bachelor's degree, if reemployed, be granted continuing contract status: Provided, however, That a teacher holding continuing contract status with one county shall be granted continuing contract status with any other county upon completion of one year of acceptable employment if such employment is during the next succeeding school year or immediately following an approved leave of absence extending no more than one year: Provided further, That any person hired as a coach may be granted a contract for a term of not less than one nor more than three years, after coaching for one year.

(c) The continuing contract of any teacher shall remain in full force and effect except as modified by mutual consent of the school board and the teacher, unless and until terminated: (1) By a majority vote of the full membership of the board on or before the first Monday of April of the then current year, after written notice, served upon the teacher, return receipt requested, stating cause or causes and an opportunity to be heard at a meeting of the board prior to the board's action thereon; or (2) by written resignation of the teacher before that date, to initiate termination of a continuing contract. Such termination shall take effect at the close of the school year in which the contract is so terminated: Provided, That the contract may be terminated at any time by mutual consent of the school board and the teacher and that this section shall not affect the powers of the school board to suspend or dismiss a principal or teacher pursuant to section eight of this article: Provided, however, That a continuing contract for any teacher holding a certificate valid for more than one year and in full force and effect during the school year one thousand nine hundred eighty-four and one thousand nine hundred eighty-five shall remain in full force and effect: Provided further, That a continuing contract shall not operate to prevent a teacher's dismissal based upon the lack of need for the teacher's services pursuant to the provisions of law relating to the allocation to teachers and pupil-teacher ratios. The written notification of teachers being considered for dismissal for lack of need shall be limited to only those teachers whose consideration for dismissal is based upon known or expected circumstances which will require dismissal for lack of need. An employee who was not provided notice and an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may not be included on the list. In case of such dismissal, the teachers so dismissed shall be placed upon a preferred list in the order of their length of service with that board, and no teacher shall be employed by the board until each qualified teacher upon the preferred list, in order, shall have been offered the opportunity for reemployment in a position for which they are qualified: And provided further, That he or she has not accepted a teaching position elsewhere. Such reemployment shall be upon a teacher's preexisting continuing contract and shall have the same effect as though the contract had been suspended during the time the teacher was not employed.
(d) In the assignment of position or duties of a teacher under said continuing contract, the board may provide for released time of a teacher for any special professional or governmental assignment without jeopardizing the contractual rights of such teacher or any other rights, privileges or benefits under the provisions of this chapter. Released time shall be provided for any professional educator while serving as a member of the Legislature during any duly constituted session of that body and its interim and statutory committees and commissions without jeopardizing his or her contractual rights or any other rights, privileges, benefits or accrual of experience for placement on the state minimum salary schedule in the following school year under the provisions of this chapter, board policy and law.
(e) Any teacher who fails to fulfill his contract with the board, unless prevented from so doing by personal illness or other just cause or unless released from such contract by the board, or who violates any lawful provision thereof, shall be disqualified to teach in any other public school in the state for a period of the next ensuing school year and the state department of education or board may hold all papers and credentials of such teacher on file for a period of one year for such violation: Provided, That marriage of a teacher shall not be considered a failure to fulfill, or violation of, the contract.
(f) Any classroom teacher, as defined in section one, article one of this chapter, who desires to resign employment with a board of education or request a leave of absence, such resignation or leave of absence to become effective on or before the fifteenth day of July of the same year and after completion of the employment term, may do so at any time during the school year by written notification thereof and any such notification received by a board of education shall automatically extend such teacher's public employee insurance coverage until the thirty-first day of August of the same year.
(g) Any classroom teacher who gives written notice to the county board of education on or before the first day of February of the school year of their resignation or retirement from employment with the board at the conclusion of the school year shall be paid five hundred dollars from the "Early Notification of Retirement" line item established for the department of education for this purpose, subject to appropriation by the Legislature. If the appropriations to the department of education for this purpose are insufficient to compensate all applicable teachers, the department of education shall request a supplemental appropriation in an amount sufficient to compensate all such teachers. Additionally, if funds are still insufficient to compensate all applicable teachers, the priority of payment is for teachers who give written notice the earliest. This payment shall not be counted as part of the final average salary for the purpose of calculating retirement.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to
authorize the term of contract for a person hired as a coach in the county school system to be for a three year period, after that person has coached for one year.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.