Interpretation's Date: September 25, 2006
by superintendent Steven L. Paine
Section: V. Personnel

September 25, 2006

Charlotte Hutchens, Ed.D., Superintendent Raleigh County Schools
105 Adair Street
Beckley, WV 25801

Dear Dr. Hutchens:

I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent's Interpretation regarding the determination of experience pay for school nurses. Specifically, you ask:

Must a nurse hold a particular degree level, license, or certification during the time the nurse was employed in a "position related to education" as a requisite to being credited with years of experience? If a nurse is certified as a school nurse during periods of outside work, is the nurse entitled to years of experience credit regardless of whether the outside position held is "related to education?"

Finally, if a registered professional nurse holds a BSN but does not hold the school nurse certification, can the nurse be given credit for years of experience for pay purposes for work experience as a charge nurse or a ward nurse in a hospital setting?

Previous interpretations have addressed this issue on November 1, 1991, April 11, 2001, and September 21, 2001. They state:

A school nurse (who is certified by the State Department of Education) has earned pay increment credit for years of employment as a nurse outside the public school system if she (he) had a bachelor's degree then, but she or he does not earn incremental pay credit for employment as a nurse's aide. If the nurse had a 2-year or 3-year degree instead of a bachelor's degree when working outside of the public school system, then she(he) could have earned incremental pay credit only for services in the armed forces while under contract with a county board of education or, in civilian life, for nursing work related to education. Please refer to W. Va. Code 18A-4-1(1).

West Virginia Code 18A-4-1(1) states:

. . . For a registered professional nurse employed by a county board, "years of experience" means the number of years the nurse has been employed as a public school health nurse, including active work in a nursing position related to education, and service in the armed forces if the nurse was under contract with the county board at the time of induction. For the purpose of section two of this article, the experience of a teacher or a nurse shall be limited to that allowed under their training classification as found in the minimum salary schedule.

The previous interpretations have determined that a school nurse is entitled to experience credit for any year that he or she was employed as a nurse and held a bachelor's degree (BSN) even if he/she did not hold a school nurse certificate. In this limited instance, employment as a nurse includes employment as a nurse in any capacity and is not restricted to nursing work in a field related to education.

Hoping that I have been of service, I am


Steven L. Paine
State Superintendent of Schools


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