A County Superintendent’s Duty to ReportMarch 26, 2020 – Legal Alerts
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a county superintendent to recommend the suspension and/or the termination of a service personnel employee or professional personnel employee. It is not uncommon for an employee who is facing a superintendent’s termination recommendation to the board of education to simply resign. It is not uncommon, of course, for a board of education to accept the resignation of an employee who is faced with a potential termination recommendation.
As we all know, a resignation brings immediate closure and allows for the avoidance of a costly contested termination process with an unknown legal outcome. Regardless, a county superintendent has a duty to make a report to the state superintendent in accordance with the below statutory mandates, including an update from the most recent 2020 Regular Session.
W. Va. Code 18A-3-6(b) for a number of years, has provided that:
It shall be the duty of any county superintendent who knows of any acts on the part of any teacher for which a certificate may be revoked … to report the same, together with all the facts and evidence, to the state superintendent for such actions as in the state superintendent’s judgment may be proper.
During the 2019 First Extraordinary Session, W. Va. Code 18A-2-8 was amended to provide the following:
It shall be the duty of any county superintendent to report any employee suspended or dismissed … including the rationale for the suspension or dismissal, to the state superintendent.
During the most recent 2020 Regular Session, W. Va. Code 18A-2-8 was further amended to provide the following (effective 90 days from March 25, 2020):
It shall be the duty of any county superintendent to report any employee suspended or dismissed, or resigned during the course of an investigation of the employee’s alleged misconduct … including the rationale for the suspension or dismissal, to the state superintendent within seven business days of the suspension, dismissal, or resignation.
In our experience, over the years county superintendents have done an excellent job at reporting to the state superintendent, not just suspensions and/or terminations of employees, but also the reporting of employees who have resigned in lieu of potentially facing disciplinary action (such as termination). The duty to report, under the most recent legislative changes, requires the report by the county superintendent be made within seven business days of the suspension, dismissal, or resignation.
Should you have any questions on this issue or others, please contact a member of Dinsmore & Shohl's Education practice group.