April 5, 2007
David L. Arritt
Rt. 3 Box 32
Fayetteville, WV 25840
P.O. Box 61
Deepwater, WV 25057
Dear Mr. Arritt and Mr. Newman:
I am in receipt of your request for an opinion regarding W. Va. Code ? 18-4-6 and West Virginia Board of Education Policy 5309. Specifically, you ask:
Does a local county board of education president have the authority to prohibit individual county board members from participation in the evaluation process of the County Superintendent of Schools?
The short answer to your question is no. Both W. Va. Code ? 18-4-6 and Policy 5309 require the county board to perform the evaluation of its superintendent. A county board is a corporate body. The voters of a county have elected the members who serve on the board. A county board president does not have the authority to unilaterally disenfranchise one of those elected members.
However, a member of a county board of education has the obligation to act ethically and to comply with state law and policy and with local policies when performing his or her duties. I do believe that it would be appropriate for a county board president to require all board members to adhere to these laws and policies as a prerequisite for participating in any official activity of the board.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am
Steven L. Paine
State Superintendent of Schools
cc: Chris Perkins, Superintendent, Fayette County Schools