Interpretation's Date: October 7, 2004
by superintendent Dr. David Stewart
Section: VI. School Construction, Buildings, and Sites

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,



David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools

cc: Office of School Facilities


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