Interpretation's Date: January 19, 2001
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: IV. Students

January 19, 2001

Kenneth Taylor
477 McCue Road
Summersville, WV 26651

Dear Mr. Taylor:

On January 12, 2001, you contacted our legal services department for information on laws governing a student's right to free textbooks. Enclosed you will find copies of the portions of the West Virginia Constitution and West Virginia Code which address free schools and textbooks along with a West Virginia Supreme Court decision, Randolph County B. Of Educ. v. Adams, 196 W. Va. 9, 467 S.E.2d 150 (1995), which interprets those statutes and constitutional provisions.

In the Adams case, the West Virginia Supreme Court affirmed an order of the Circuit Court of Randolph County which held that it was unconstitutional for the board of education to charge parents of non-needy children a book user fee for books and materials that were necessary for the completion of the "required school curriculum." The opinion stated that:

"[w]hatever items are deemed necessary to accomplish the goals of a school system and are in fact an integral fundamental part of the elementary and secondary education must be provided free of charge to all students in order to comply with the constitutional mandate of a free school system pursuant to Section 1 of Article XII of the West Virginia Constitution."

I hope these materials prove instructive to you and that they provide the guidance you seek.

Hoping that I have been of service, I am



David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools

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