Reserved Vacancies

April 19, 2018Legal Alerts

Personnel Season is nearly over for county boards of education.

Now that Personnel Season is coming to an end, a common question we often see relates toW. Va. Code 18A-4-7a(k)(2) and how to handle the statutory provision of reserving vacancies for individual professionals subject to release (i.e. reduced in force). For example, assume elementary teacher A submits to the board, on or before March 1, his/her early retirement notice effective at the conclusion of this school year. Thereafter (by law, on or before May 1, 2018), the personnel office notifies elementary teachers B, C and D all at different elementary schools in the county that they are being recommended for a reduction-in-force (their seniority doesn’t allow them to bump anyone countywide), and the board subsequently approves the reductions of these three employees (meaning they will not be guaranteed employment for the 2018-19 school year).

What happens with A’s position, which is needed for the 2018-19 school year? Does the board post A’s position so any and all interested individuals can apply?

As required byW. Va. Code 18A-4-7a(k)(2), “for any vacancy in an established, existing or newly created position that, on or before March 1, is known to exist for the ensuing school year, upon recommendation of the superintendent, the board shall appoint the successful applicant from among all qualified applicants. All employees subject to release [“B”, “C” and “D”] shall be considered applicants for the positions for which they are qualified and shall be considered before posting such vacancies for application by nonemployees.”

A’s position is posted, and “all qualified [in-county] applicants” are considered along with the “employees subject to release [B, C and D]”. In determining who the most qualified applicant is, among all qualified in-county applicants and those subject to a reduction in force, the county will applyW. Va. Code 18A-4-7a(b)(1) through (11) (the 11 factors). It is important to remember that even if a regular employee applies for the position, let’s say E, E doesn’t get preference over B, C or D, or vice versa. The most qualified applicant among B, C, D and E will be recommended for the position.

Should you have any questions on this issue or any issues please feel free to contact a member of Dinmore & Shohl's Education Law Practice Group.