CHAPTER 18. EDUCATION.

§18-5G-15. West Virginia Professional Charter School Board; members; appointments; meetings.

(a) There is hereby created the West Virginia Professional Charter School Board which shall report directly to and be responsible to the state board, separate from the Department of Education, for carrying out its duties in accordance with this article. The mission of the board is to authorize high-quality public charter schools throughout the state that provide more options for students to attain a thorough and efficient education, particularly through schools designed to expand the opportunities for at-risk students. The Professional Charter School Board and public charter schools authorized in accordance with this article are subject to the general supervision of the state board solely for the purposes of accountability for meeting the standards for student performance required of other public school students under §18-2E-5 of this code.

(b) The Professional Charter School Board shall consist of five voting members, appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(c) The chair of the House Committee on Education and the chair of the Senate Committee on Education shall serve as nonvoting ex officio members of the Professional Charter School Board.

(d) Each appointed member shall represent the public interest and must satisfy the following requirements:

(1) Be a citizen of the state;

(2) Possess experience and expertise in public or nonprofit governance, management and finance, public school leadership, assessment, curriculum or instruction, or public education law; and

(3) Have demonstrated an understanding of, and commitment to, charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.

(e) No more than three of the appointed members of the Professional Charter School Board may be of the same political party. The members shall reside in geographically diverse areas of the state, with no more than two members residing in the same county. No person may be appointed who holds any other public office or public employment under the government of this state or any of its political subdivisions, or who is an appointee or employee of any charter school governing board or an immediate family member of an employee under the jurisdiction of the Professional Charter School Board or any charter school governing board. No person may be appointed who is engaged in or employed by a person or company whose primary function involves, the sale of services and activities to public charter schools or charter school governing boards.

(f) The initial appointments made pursuant to this section shall be for staggered one- and two-year terms. Three of the initial members appointed by the Governor shall serve two-year terms; and two of the initial members appointed by the Governor shall serve one-year terms. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for a term of two years. The initial appointments shall be made before August 1, 2021. The Professional Charter School Board shall meet as soon as practical after August 1, 2021, upon the call of the Governor, and shall organize for business by selecting a chairman and adopting bylaws. Subsequent meetings shall be called by the chairman.

(g) An appointed member of the Professional Charter School Board may be removed from office by the Governor for official misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty, or gross immorality. A member may also be removed if the member’s personal incapacity renders the member incapable or unfit to discharge the duties of the office or if the member is absent from a number of meetings of the Professional Charter School Board as determined and specified by the commission in its bylaws. Whenever an appointed member vacancy on the Professional Charter School Board exists, the Governor shall appoint a qualified person for the remainder of the vacated term.

(h) Except in the case of gross negligence or reckless disregard of the safety and well-being of another person, the Professional Charter School Board and members of that board in their official capacity are immune from civil liability with respect to all activities related to a public charter school approved by the Public Charter School Board. The official actions of the members of the Professional Charter School Board who are serving in a nonvoting ex officio capacity by virtue of their designation as chair of the House Committee on Education or chair of the Senate Committee on Education are Professional Charter School Board member actions only, and may not be construed as official actions or positions of such member’s committee or legislative body.

(i) The Professional Charter School Board may appoint an executive director and may employ such additional staff as may be necessary. The executive director shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Professional Charter School Board. The executive director must demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education and must possess an understanding of state and federal education law.

(j) The Professional Charter School Board shall meet as needed, but at least bi-annually. From funds appropriated or otherwise made available for such purpose, its members shall be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in the performance of official duties upon submission of an itemized statement in a manner consistent with guidelines of the Travel Management Office of the Department of Administration.

(k) The Professional Charter School Board shall investigate official complaints submitted to it that allege serious impairments in the quality of education in a public charter school or virtual public charter school it has authorized pursuant to this article, or that allege such schools are in violation of the policies or laws applicable to them. The Professional Charter School Board also may at its own discretion conduct or cause to be conducted audits of the education and operation of public charter schools or virtual public charter schools it has authorized pursuant to this article that it determines necessary to achieve its mission of authorizing high-quality public charter schools. Upon a determination that serious impairments or violations exist, the Professional Charter School Board shall promptly notify in writing the public charter school governing board of the perceived serious impairments or violations and provide reasonable opportunity for the school to remedy the serious impairments or violations. The Professional Charter School Board shall take corrective actions or exercise sanctions in response to apparent serious impairments or violations. If warranted, the actions or sanctions may include requiring a charter school to develop and execute a corrective action plan within a specified time frame.

§18-5G-15. West Virginia Professional Charter School Board; members; appointments; meetings.

Bill History For §18-5G-15