Interpretation's Date: March 9, 2001
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: V. Personnel
SubSection: B. Principals, Supervisors, and Central Office Administrators
March 9, 2001
Terry M. Nelson, Principal
Dear Mr. Nelson:
Our legal services department received your request for a Superintendent?s Interpretation regarding the reduction of a full-time elementary principalship in your county to a half-time position. You stated that the enrollment at Homestead Elementary had dropped to below one hundred seventy for the past two years and was projected to be at about one hundred forty next year. Accordingly, your county has decided to reduce the full time principal position at the school to a half time position commencing with the 2001-2002 school year.
You indicate you were told that since the principal at Homestead has a full time position, he has the right to bump into the next least senior full time principal?s position. You advise that the Homestead principal is the third least senior elementary principal in your county. You are the second least senior elementary principal. The least senior elementary principal is a half-time elementary principal at Valley Head Elementary. You were told that in working out the details of this RIF (reduction in force), the half-time principal?s position could not be touched. You were also told that the state no longer allows a principal to be assigned to two schools.
Your questions were as follows:
Not necessarily. According to West Virginia Department of Education Policy 2320, for purposes of determining whether a full-time principal must be employed at a school, the previous year?s second month enrollment report is considered, not the current
Mr. Terry M. Nelson
year's enrollment. However, these figures may be an important factor for a county to consider in ultimately determining whether a full-time position should be reduced to a half-time position because of their potential future impact.
?Question 2 :
No. The ?bumping? process in the scenario you described should occur as follows, in accordance with West Virginia Code ? 18A-4-7a:
Because the Homestead principal, whose current job is being reduced to a half-time
position, is a full-time principal, he is entitled to bump into a full-time position if a full-time lateral position for which he is certified exists (assuming he has sufficient seniority to displace another employee). Lateral hire policies are determined at the county level,
however, the logical assumption is that all elementary principal positions are lateral. If no lateral full-time position exists, a full-time professional employee whose current position is reduced would have the right to bump into a full-time professional position in an area for which he is certified and in which he was previously employed. Again, this assumes that he has greater seniority than the displaced employee.
Finally, because you have more seniority than the half-time Valley Head principal, West Virginia Code ? 18A-4-7a provides a mechanism by which you would be bumped into that half time position.
Mr. Terry M. Nelson
the right to bump the Valley Head position and be assigned to both Homestead and Valley Head??
As set forth in the scenario above, you do have the right to bump into the Valley Head position. However, because the position at Homestead is newly created, it must be posted and filled pursuant to West Virginia Code ? 18A-4-7a. Assuming you meet all of the certification requirements, you would be able to apply for that job. West Virginia Code ? 18A-2-9 and West Virginia Department of Education policy allow for a principal to be assigned to two schools, but prohibit a principal from being assigned to more than two schools.
It is not mandatory for county boards to assign half time principals to schools with
net enrollments of less than one hundred seventy students. It is only mandatory that
boards of education employ a full time supervising principal at each school whose net
enrollment equals or exceeds one hundred seventy students. See West Virginia Code ?
In reading this interpretation, it is important to note that other factors not mentioned
in your correspondence could affect the analysis herein. Thus, the interpretation should
be considered a response only to those questions and fact patterns set forth in your
Hoping that I have been of service, I am