SUPERINTENDENT INTERPRETATION
 
Interpretation's Date: October 10, 2001
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: III. County Educational Administration
 
Interpretation

October 10, 2001

Thomas E. Long, Superintendent
Marion County Board of Education
200 Gaston Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554

Dear Mr. Long:

I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent?s Interpretation dated September 20, 2001, regarding transportation issues. You explain that for the past several years, Marion County Schools has conducted an established bus route into Taylor County. As a courtesy to Taylor County parents whose children attended school in Marion County, since there is room on the bus for the Taylor County students, and no modifications to the existing route were necessary, the bus stops to allow Taylor County students who transferred to Marion County transportation to school.
On September 7, 2001, the Superintendent of Taylor County Schools advised that you were to cease the practice of making bus stops in Taylor County and permitting transfer students to ride the bus to Marion County. According to the Taylor County Superintendent, approval for students to attend school in other counties is contingent upon transportation being provided by the parents of the students.

You ask:

Has Marion County violated any statutes or policies by stopping in Taylor County and permitting transfer students to ride the existing bus route that travels through Taylor County?

Marion County has not violated any statutes or policies by allowing Taylor County students, who have been granted board permission to attend Marion County Schools, to ride the bus on an existing Marion County bus route from Taylor County into Marion County to attend school.

Voluntary transfers of students from one county to another within the state of West Virginia are controlled by West Virginia Code ? 18-5-16. The statute does not require that counties provide transportation to students voluntarily transferring into or out of the county.

Any student whose application for transfer from one county to another has been denied by either the sending or receiving county may file an appeal with the State Superintendent of Schools, who shall have the authority to require the county board to approve the transfer pursuant to West Virginia Board of Education Policy 7212.

Mr. Thomas E. Long
October 10, 2001
Page 2


?A county board of education is not responsible for transportation costs for students who attend school in a county other than that of their residence, even though the county board has approved the attendance in another county, unless the county board itself has initiated a plan to have the students attend school in a county other than their residence. In an instance where the plan has been initiated by one or more county boards of education, the sending and receiving counties, where both have agreed to the transfer, must determine the method of, and provide coverage for the costs of, transportation to the other county.?

West Virginia Board of Education Policy 7212. The Policy further states that ?[c]ounty school buses may provide transportation to students across county boundaries and may pick up students in one county for attendance in the schools of another county.? (Emphasis added).

Therefore, based on the applicable law and policy, Marion County should not be prohibited from choosing to allow Taylor County students, who have been granted board permission to attend Marion County Schools pursuant to West Virginia Code ? 18-5-16, to ride a bus on an existing Marion County bus route from Taylor County into Marion County to attend school.

Hoping that I have been of service, I am

Sincerely,

/s/

David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools

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