Interpretation's Date: December 4, 2002
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: III. County Educational Administration
SubSection: B. County Superintendents
December 3, 2002
David L. Roach. Superintendent
I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent's Interpretation, dated October 4, 2002, regarding a policy which the Cabell County Board of Education wishes to adopt. The policy provides, in pertinent part:
B. Authorization for all personnel including the superintendent
must be secured for each out of county trip prior to the date
travel is scheduled to begin.
It is my opinion that this policy is ill advised. It does not allow the flexibility necessary for a county superintendent to perform all duties required of him or her.
To begin, the policy does not specify the individual(s) from whom travel authorization must be obtained. I assume that the intent of the policy is that the county board itself must pre-approve all of the superintendent's travel. However, because boards of education generally only meet once or twice a month, this arrangement is insufficient to accommodate all of a superintendent's travel needs. Superintendent's cannot plan all of their required travel in advance. They must respond to subpoenas, attend meetings and training sessions required by the State Superintendent or the School Building Authority, attend RESA functions, attend educational seminars, and attend to a myriad of other obligations which arise on an emergency basis or in a manner which precludes pre-approval. Attendance at these functions is generally not discretionary and is necessary for a superintendent to carry out his or her statutory duties, which include "perform[ing] all other duties prescribed . . . or required by the . . . state board." West Virginia Code 18-4-11.
A board policy which inhibits the superintendent's ability to perform his or her duties in this manner, in my opinion, will necessarily have a negative impact on the county's educational progress and advancement.