Interpretation's Date: July 15, 2005
by superintendent Steven L. Paine
Section: V. Personnel
July 15, 2005
Dear Mr. Houston:
I am in receipt of your letter requesting a Superintendent's Interpretation regarding faculty senates and school budgets. With regard to the former subject, you posed the following:
1. "Can coaches hold practices, informal workouts, walk-throughs, "open gym," or any other form of coaching activity during faculty senate?"
An earlier Superintendent's Interpretation addressed a similar situation with a coach who held a supplemental coaching contact, who wanted to miss faculty senate and hold athletic practice. The feasibility of the activity depended upon whether the practice was duly assigned to the staff member in lieu of attendance at faculty senate.
In addition, it noted that faculty senate members are required to attend set faculty senate meetings in order to be paid for the day, unless the staff member was "properly excused and/or assigned to this alternative duty by the school principal." (October 6, 1992).
Thus, a coach cannot unilaterally decide to hold a practice or other event in lieu of attending a faculty senate meeting. However, if the principal assigns the coach to perform a specific task during the faculty senate meeting, attendance may be excused.
2. "Can the principal or faculty senate president give permission to a faculty senate member to not attend faculty senate?"
In referencing the above-mentioned Superintendent's Interpretation, a principal may excuse a staff member or assign an alternative duty in lieu of required attendance at faculty senate if the principal deems the excuse/alternative assignment to be necessary and work related.
Mr. Craig Houston
3. "If a faculty senate member does not attend faculty senate, is not on duty, and is on school grounds, must that member take sick or personal leave?"
W.Va. Code 18-5A-5(a) creates a faculty senate in every public school in West Virginia, "which shall be comprised of all permanent, full-time professional educators employed at the school." In reference to a December 18, 1990, Superintendent's Interpretation, it was noted that faculty senate members must attend faculty senate meetings "as though they were attending to other duties assigned to them. Members do not appear to be free to avoid attendance at their faculty senate meetings without some reasonable excuse." It is my opinion that since attendance at a faculty senate meeting is part of the duty assigned to a permanent, full-time professional educator, the faculty senate member must utilize sick or personal leave if he or she misses the faculty senate meeting without the principal's permission. Otherwise, the employee is subject to disciplinary action as set forth below.
4. "What recourse does the faculty senate and/or principal have if a faculty senate member refuses to attend faculty senate?"
In a June 4, 1991, Superintendent's Interpretation, it was stated that "[a] faculty senate member [remaining within their assigned building working] who does not have some other assignment while a faculty senate meets or who is not on leave is subject to ordinary disciplinary measures."
5. "W.Va. Code 18-5A-5[b](12) says that faculty senate ‘time may be utilized and determined at the local school level and shall include, but not be limited to, faculty senate meetings." Who determines how the time will be used? The faculty senate president, the principal, the faculty senate? Does the faculty senate president determine how the time will be used when he sets the faculty senate agenda?"
W.Va. Code 18-5A-5(a) states that "[p]rior to the beginning of the instructional term each year, but within the employment term, the principal shall convene a meeting of the faculty senate to elect a chair, vice chair, and secretary and discuss matters relevant to the beginning of the school year. * * * * Meetings of the faculty senate shall be held on a regular basis as determined by a schedule approved by the faculty senate and amended from time to time if needed. Emergency meetings may be held at the call of the chair or a majority of the voting members by petition submitted the chair and vice chair. "
Mr. Craig Houston
In addition, 18-5A-5(b) states "[t]he intent of these provisions is neither to restrict nor to require the activities of every faculty senate to the enumerated items except as otherwise stated. Each faculty senate shall organize its activities as it deems most effective and efficient based on school size, departmental structure and other relevant factors."
In following 5(b), the faculty senate is granted the permissive ability to determine how the time is to be utilized. This is not required, and the senate could leave such a determination to school administration, or to the faculty senate president. However, it is my opinion that the faculty senate does have the authority to determine how to use the time allotted.
Regarding the latter topic of school budgets, you asked the following questions:
1. "What information must be included in the local school's budget submitted to the county board of education? To the local school's finance committee?"
W.Va. Code 18-5-13(a), in part, states the following:
Each county board . . . has the authority [t]o control and manage all of the schools and school interests for all school activities and upon all school property, whether owned or leased by the county, including the authority to require that records be kept of all receipts and disbursements of all funds collected or received by any principal, teacher, student or other person in connection with the schools and school interests, any programs, activities or other endeavors of any nature operated or carried on by or in the name of the school, or any organization or body directly connected with the school, to audit the records and to conserve the funds, which shall be considered quasipublic moneys, including securing surety bonds by expenditure of board moneys;
In addition, West Virginia Department of Education Policy 1224.1, Section 2.2, has determined:
Each school is considered to be a separate and distinct financial accounting entity. As such, a complete set of accounting records must be maintained for each school in which is recorded all financial activities of the school. Separate monthly and annual financial statements are to be prepared by each school, including multi-county vocational centers.
The policy requires all schools to submit monthly and annual financial reports to their appropriate board business offices, but does not
Mr. Craig Houston
require the schools to submit a budget to the West Virginia Department of Education, the county boards, or the local school finance committee. Though it is not required, a county may, nonetheless, enact its own policies requiring a school to create and submit a budget to the central office.
In reference to faculty senates, however, section 3.3 of the Accounting Procedures Manuel for the Public Schools, which is referenced in West Virginia Board of Education Policy 1224.1, provides:
Every faculty senate is to prepare an annual budget approved by the membership which reflects how the faculty senate funds are to be expended. The budget is to be made a part of the minutes. Expenditures are to be made only in accordance with the budget. Revisions to the budget may be made as frequently as necessary. Revisions are to be approved by the membership in the same manner as the original budget.
2. "What information may be excluded in the local school's budget submitted to the county board of education? To the local school's finance committee?"
As stated above, there is no state requirement regarding budgets for individual schools. If a county elects to require individual schools to create and submit budgets, the county may determine what is to be included in the budgets.
3. "For what purposes can booster, e.g., athletic boosters, band boosters, money be used?"
In looking to 18-5-13 for guidance, booster monies are considered "Quasipublic funds," which ". . . mean any money received by any principal, teacher, student or other person for the benefit of the school system as a result of curricular or noncurricular activities."
Quasipublic monies, such as those raised from booster organizations, are to be expended for the benefit of the students.
4. "W.Va. Code 18-2-6a refers to the sale of soft drinks. Is there any similar law with regard to snack machines?" In regard to the distribution of profits from vending machine sales, West Virginia Code 18-2-6a refers to the sale of healthy beverages and soft drinks only. It states:
Mr. Craig Houston
Seventy-five percent of the profits from the sale of healthy beverages and soft drinks shall be allocated by a majority vote of the faculty senate of each school and twenty-five percent of the profits from the sale of healthy beverages and soft drinks shall be allocated to the purchase of necessary supplies by the principal of the school. There is no similar law regarding proceeds from snack machines. As such, this issue can be decided on an individual county basis. 5. "Must the profit realized from soft drink and snack machines be noted in the local school budget?"
Please refer to the response to question Nos. 1 and 2, above.
Hoping I have been of service, I am,
Steven L. Paine, State Superintendent of Schools
cc: William McGinley