June 25, 2002
Gus E. Penix, Superintendent
Nicholas County Board of Education
400 Old Main Drive
Summersville, WV 26651
Dear Mr. Penix:
I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent?s Interpretation dated May 31,
2002, pertaining to the eligibility of a candidate for your board of education election. You
explain that the candidate in question was employed as a long-term substitute teacher
during the campaign period and is continuing in that position until the end of the current
school year. He was elected to fill a seat on the board and is scheduled to take office on
July 1, 2002.
Specifically, you ask:
Can a candidate for election to the board of education be employed as a
long-term substitute teacher during the campaign period?
Pursuant to the language of West Virginia Code ? 18-5-1a, the answer is yes. West
Virginia Code ? 18-5-1a states, in pertinent part:
No person shall be eligible for membership on any county board who is not
a citizen, resident in such county, or who accepts a position as teacher or
service personnel in the school district in which he or she is a resident or
who is an elected or an appointed member of any political party executive
committee, or who becomes a candidate for any other office than to succeed
oneself (emphasis added).
My interpretation of this language is that ?membership? means actual membership
on the board of education after the candidate has been sworn in and takes office. Because this particular substitute teacher will not assume office and be sworn in until July 1, 2002, it is not improper for him to maintain his employment as a substitute teacher until that time. However, the employee must resign his employment before he is eligible to take office as a board of education member on July 1, 2002.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am
State Superintendent of Schools