Interpretation's Date: February 15, 1991
by superintendent Henry Marockie
Section: III. County Educational Administration
SubSection: A. County Boards of Education
February 15, 1991
Dr. Billy Ray Dunn
Dear Dr. Dunn:
You have asked:
1. Where Elkins Junior High School (grades 7-9) will become Elkins Middle School (grades 6-8): "Will a separate hearing be required for each school that will give a sixth grade to the middle school?" These schools are: Beverly (K-6), Jennings Randolph (K-6), Midland (K-6), North (K-6), and Third Ward (K-6).
A hearing will be required for those schools whose students would not have advanced previously from their elementary school to the present Elkins Junior High School. School consolidation by horizontal transfer would be the reason. A separate hearing will be required for each such school although it need not be held at the particular school being consolidated as long as it is held at a site convenient to the public affected and board. [For further information please read the enclosed 61 Op. Atty. Gen. 86 (1986) and State Superintendent's letter of April 23, 1990 (13).]
No hearing will be required, however, for those students who would have previously advanced from their elementary school to the present Elkins Junior High School because this would be a vertical move in the expected direction of those students through the county's public schools.
2. With respect to Coalton Elementary/High School, you ask if a
separate hearing is required to move the Coalton students 9-12 to the
new high school and the 6-8 students to the middle school, or is one
Because both of these moves would be consolidations (the 9-12 move being to a new school, the 6-8 move being horizontal), a hearing for the affected grades will be necessary. Both hearings must be separate but can be held at the same time.
3. Will a hearing be required to change the present Elkins Junior High 7-9 to Elkins Middle School 6-8?
Dr. Billy Ray Dunn
4. Will a hearing be required to close the 'old Elkins High' and move the students to the 'new school'?"
Yes, because this would be a school closure.
5. If the new school is not called Elkins High, how will that
impact the need for a hearing?
It would not.
6. Should all the hearings and local board action be completed before ground is broken? State Board Actions?
The answer to both questions is yes.
To review your plan for closing or consolidating some of Randolph County's public schools:
a. Elkins High School will be closed and its students will
attend a newly established high school; therefore, the families of its
students are entitled to a hearing on whether their school should be
b. The ninth grade will be transferred from Elkins Junior High School to the county's new high school. Because all these students currently go to the same high school as they will in the future, this is a vertical move and no hearing is required.
c(i). The Coalton Elementary/High School students' families who
will be affected by the horizontal consolidation of their sixth,
seventh and eighth grades into Elkins Junior High School as it becomes
Elkins Middle School are entitled to a hearing because of the proposed
c(ii). The students' families who will be affected by the consolidation of the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades at Coalton Elementary/High School into the county's new high school are entitled to a hearing because of this proposed consolidation. Even though this would be a vertical move, it would be a consolidation, assuming that their new school really would be new.
d. The families of Elkins Junior High School students who will
attend either the seventh or eighth grade when it becomes a middle
school do not appear to be entitled to a hearing because there will be
neither a school closing nor a consolidation.
Mr. Billy Ray Dunn
e. No hearing will be required for the families of students affected by transfer of their sixth grades from Beverly, Jennings Randolph, Midland, North or Third Ward to Elkins Middle School in any case where these students would eventually have progressed to Elkins Junior High School because this would be a vertical move. Of course, where any of these students would have expected to progress to Coalton or some other school instead of Elkins Junior High, then their families are entitled to a hearing.
In addition, where there is uncertainty, my office recommends holding a hearing in order to be sure of providing due process and compliance with 18-5-13(a).
Hoping that I have been of service, I am,