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WVSBA Announces Creation Of On-LineTraining Of State’s Open Governmental Proceedings Act

September 20, 2005

Charleston, W. Va. – The West Virginia School Boards Association (WVSBA) announces the creation of an on-line based training program regarding the state’s Open Governmental Proceedings Act (OGPA). First adopted by the Legislature in the 1970s, the OGPA is commonly referred to as the ‘Sunshine Law.’ Its provisions cover both county school boards and the West Virginia Board of Education as well as most other entities of state government.  

While primarily designed for county board members, state governmental officials, local and state school officials and citizens can access the 47-question course. There is no charge or fee for participating in the 45-minute exercise. The course can be accessed at http://www.wvsba.org, the School Boards Association’s Web site.  

In terms of content, participants first answer a series of questions posed by the “minutes” of a mock county school board meeting then progressing to discover information regarding Ethics Commission rulings relating to the OGPA and parliamentary procedure.  

The program was developed by Howard E. Seufer Jr., Esq., an attorney with Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love; Lew Brewer, Esq., Executive Director of the state Ethics Commission; and, Jim Slaugher, Esq., a North Carolina attorney who is one of only a few lawyers in the nation who works both as a lawyer and registered parliamentarian. WVSBA Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D. was instrumental in helping design course content.  

“While, as a means of accountability, county boards of education often receive training regarding the ‘Open Meetings Law,’ this is a new, promising format,” said O’Cull. “Recently, several county boards have been cited for not following ‘Sunshine Laws,’ and we, as an association, want to rectify that situation – largely through more targeted training and development.”  

O’Cull adds that citizens also can benefit from the information. “Often citizens, too, may have questions about the ‘Sunshine Law.’ This is one good way to learn more about the act,” he said.  

Under a state law adopted in 1990, county boards of education members must receive seven (7) clock hours of training annually. A recent report showed that members, on average, received about 14.5 hours training.  

County board training programs are approved by a broad-based committee, which includes state and local officials. State Board member Ron Spencer (Doddridge) heads that committee, which is known as the WVSBA/W. Va. Board of Education County Board Member Training Standards Review Committee (TSRC).  

For more information, contact O’Cull at hocull@wvsba.org, or at (304) 346-0571 or Liza Corderio, Executive Director for the West Virginia Department of Education Communications Office, at (304) 558-2699.  

The program was funded through the W. Va. School Board Effectiveness Project, a venture between the state Legislature, W. Va. Board and Department of Education and the School Boards Association.  

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