October 7, 2004
Charlotte Hutchens, Superintendent
Raleigh County Schools
105 Adair Street
Beckley, West Virginia 25801-3791
Dear Dr. Hutchens:
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated May 5, 2004 requesting an
interpretation of school law. Specifically you ask:
whether a county school district must observe the requirements of
WV Code 18-5-13a and Policy 6204 when eliminating an alternative
school program provided on an alternate site. More specifically, is
it contemplated that school closing hearings be required for a
change in program options available under Policy 2418. While the
program is located in a separate building, known as the Alternate
Education Center, 7-12 students remain affiliated with their home
schools during their temporary stays in all respects, including
WVEIS reporting. The program is administered by a principal.
However, there is no indicia of a ?separate school?, such as
graduation, sports, etc.
According to West Virginia Code ?18-1-1(a), ??School? means the pupils and teacher or
teachers assembled in one or more buildings organized as a unit?. [emphasis added] Additionally, West Virginia Board of Education Policy, 2418, Regulations for Alternative Education Programs for Disruptive Students, indicates that ?An alternative education program is a temporary authorized departure from the regular school program designed to provide educational and social development for students whose disruptive behavior places them at risk of not succeeding in the traditional school structures and in adult life without positive interventions.? As a result, even though the program is housed in a separate building, a new school is not so created. This conclusion is
supported by the fact that the student enrollment and achievement data are mapped back to the home school of referral, or other building.
Since both West Virginia Code ?18-5-13a and West Virginia Policy 6204, School Closings or Consolidations, only apply to school closings and not programs, no closure hearings would be required.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am,
State Superintendent of Schools
cc: Office of School Facilities