March 31, 2005
Rt. 2 Box 20
Salem, WV 26426
Dear Mr. Rominger:
I am in receipt of your request for an opinion regarding actions of the Doddridge
County Board of Education. Specifically, you ask:
1. ?If a Board of Education is directed by State Law to hold their Organizational
Meeting on the first day of Monday in July (or on the next business day if the
Monday happens to be a holiday), then why and how did the Doddridge County
BOE meet on July 1, 2004, to elect their President, Vice-President and to take care
of other business? Was this a legal Organizational Meeting? Are the actions which
were taken at that meeting and those actions since that meeting considered legal??
West Virginia Code ?18-5-1c(a) provides:
On the first Monday of July, following each biennial primary election, each
respective county board shall organize and shall elect a president from its own
membership for a two-year term. The county board shall report promptly to the
state superintendent the name of the member elected as county board president.
In a previous interpretation of this statute, former State Superintendent Marockie,
citing West Virginia Code ?? 2-2-1 and 2-2-2, stated:
[W]hen an official act or proceeding is to be done on a particular day of the month
and that day happens to be a legal holiday, then the next day that is not a Saturday,
Sunday or legal holiday shall be deemed to be the day intended.
This past year, the Doddridge County Board of Education held its organizational
meeting on July 1, 2004. All five board of education members were present at this
meeting. William J. Curran was elected president and Mary Frame was elected vice-
president. Although this meeting was held earlier than the time specified in statute, it
appears that the meeting was properly noticed and all elected members of the board
attended. No board member was excluded from participation in the meeting. Further,
during all meetings held after July 1, 2004, the board acted in a manner consistent with the organizational votes taken on July 1st which, in essence, ratified the board?s previous actions in this regard. Accordingly, no actions taken by the board subsequent to this meeting have been compromised by the early vote.
2. ?If the Superintendent of Schools has an existing, valid contract, with another 2
years remaining on its term, can an outgoing board, at their last meeting, extend
this contract with a pay raise??
The Doddridge County Superintendent was awarded a three year contract that
commenced on July 1, 2003, with a term ending on June 30, 2006. This contract was
executed on July 1, 2003. On June 17, 2004, the board and the superintendent entered
into a new contract with a term commencing on July 1, 2004, and ending on June 30,
2008. In essence, there was no extension of the contract executed on July 1, 2003.
Rather, the contract of June 17, 2004, supplanted the original contract of July 1, 2003.
Because the contract of July 1, 2003, was a valid contract, the board did not have the
authority to alter or replace it.
3. ?If a President of a Board, who?s term ends on the Board on June 30th, signs a
contract dated July 1st, is this contract legal and did this person commit fraud by
representing that he is the Board President on July 1st, when in actuality, there was
a new President elected to the Board on July 1st ??
If an otherwise valid contract were executed by the outgoing president on July 1st
prior to the election of the new Board president, the contract would be valid.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am
State Superintendent of Schools
cc: Jeffrey H. Moss, Superintendent, Doddridge County Schools