SUPERINTENDENT INTERPRETATION
 
Interpretation's Date: January 26, 2001
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: V. Personnel
SubSection: A. Professional Personnel

 

Interpretation

January 26, 2001

Ms. Ruthine Gee
P.O. Box 248
Buckhannon, WV 26201

Dear Ms. Gee:

I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent?s Interpretation concerning your employment as a librarian at Buckhannon-Upsher Middle School. Specifically, you asked the following questions.
1. In a middle school (6-8), school population of 934 students, what are the legal responsibilities for the librarian?

The legal responsibilities of a librarian are primarily defined by West Virginia Code ? 18-5-20, which states as follows:

?The board may provide libraries for its schools and may purchase books, bookcases, and other things necessary therefor, and shall pay the cost of such libraries out of school funds of the county. In connection with any such school library, the board may employ a full-time librarian or may require one of the teachers at the school to serve as a part-time librarian. Any such full-time librarian or any such teacher-librarian, who holds a degree in library science based upon the successful completion of a full year of graduate work at an institution qualified and approved to offer such degree, and who holds a collegiate elementary, first-class high school, or other certificate of equal rank, shall be paid the same salary as is prescribed by law for teachers holding a master's degree.

The board shall have authority to employ during the vacation period a librarian for any school having a library of one hundred or more volumes, and to pay such librarian out of the school funds of the county an amount to be determined by the board. Any librarian so appointed shall keep the library open at least one day a week, at which time the patrons and pupils of the school may draw books from the library under such rules and regulations for the care and return thereof as the board may prescribe.?

Further, the West Virginia Department of Education?s Policy 2510, titled Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education, states:

?Today?s technological society requires access to media and use of such skills as retrieving, receiving, and using information. Each county Board of Education will determine the library media services to be made available within its budget.?

Ms. Ruthine Gee
January 26, 2001
Page 2

Section 6.6.3 - Library/Media Services.

As you can see, the legal duties of a librarian are only vaguely defined by the West Virginia Code and state board policies. This allows local administrators substantial discretion in structuring school library programs.

2. Is this librarian(who signed a contract only as a librarian) required to spend one third of the day (an administrative decision) as an In-School-Suspension Teacher, thus neglecting the legal requirements of the library?
Yes. West Virginia Code ? 18A-2-9 grants the principal of a school administrative and instructional supervision and responsibility for the school. I have attached three previous Superintendent?s Interpretations regarding this same issue for your review. They are dated April 19, 1999; June 9, 1993; and July 9, 1991. In sum, the interpretations hold that a principal has the discretion to unilaterally assign a teacher to teach two or more periods in his/her second certified field without posting the job or placing the teacher on the transfer list, especially if the teacher?s assignment could be construed to allow him/her to teach in both subject areas. Further, because West Virginia Code ? 18-5-20 gives the board some latitude as to whether a school librarian is employed on a full or part-time basis, there is added flexibility when staffing a school library.

3. Is this library required to have the services of a full-time library clerk, or just one-half time clerk?

Pursuant to West Virginia Code ? 18-5-20, cited above in its entirety, the board is not required to provide a full time librarian for each school in the county.

4. Does this school fall under the requirements of the North Central Association?

The North Central Association Commission on Schools is a non-profit school accreditation organization which is not associated with the West Virginia Department of Education. According to the organization?s web-site, www.nca.asu.edu, Buckhannon- Upsher Middle School is not a North Central Association accredited school.

5. Is the librarian required to perform all of the duties (noon hour, bus, etc.) that the classroom teachers perform?

Ms. Ruthine Gee
January 26, 2001
Page 3

Yes. According to West Virginia Code ? 18-1-1(g),

??Teacher? means teacher, supervisor, principal, superintendent, public school librarian; registered professional nurse, licensed by the West Virginia board of examiners for registered professional nurses and employed by a county board of education, who has a baccalaureate degree; or any other person regularly employed for instructional purposes in a public school in this state.?

Thus, in legal terms, a librarian is viewed as a teacher, and would be subject to the same basic employment terms as a teacher. Again, pursuant to ? 18A-2-9 the principal is granted administrative and instructional supervision and responsibility for his or her school.

In the case of Rebecca Mohn v. Kanawha County Board of Education, Docket Number 93-20-500, the West Virginia Education and State Employees Grievance Board held that a librarian could rightfully be assigned the duties of lunchroom supervisor during the normal school day. The grievant was given no additional compensation, however, she maintained a duty free lunch period. A copy of that decision is enclosed.

Bus duty, however, may be considered an extra-curricular assignment subject to the terms of West Virginia Code ? 18A-4-16, but only if the employee is asked to work at times other than regularly scheduled working hours. (See Elaine Hussell v. Mason County Board of Education, Docket No. 96-26-073.

6. Is the librarian entitled to a duty-free planning period?

Yes. Pursuant to West Virginia Code ? 18A-4-14, a librarian is entitled to both a duty-free planning period and a duty free lunch. Additionally, State Board Policy 2510, section 7.4.2(b)(A) provides teachers and library/media professionals a duty free planning period that is the length of the usual class period and is not less than thirty minutes. A copy of each of these provisions is enclosed.

Hoping that I have been of service, I am

Sincerely,

/s/

David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools
DS/mp
Enclosures
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