Legalities

February 8, 2019 - Volume 39 Issue 5

Legalities

Roger Hanshaw

By Kim Croyle

Q:  Our superintendent’s contract expires on June 30 of this year.  Do we have to conduct an evaluation?  If so, what is the process we must follow?

A:  Yes!  West Virginia Code § 18-4-6 and State Board of Education Policy 5309 require county boards to evaluate their superintendents each school year.  If the superintendent’s contract expires on June 30 of that year, the assessment must be done by March 1. Otherwise, it is due by June 30.

The first step of the evaluation process should already be completed.  Before September 15, the board and superintendent must write goals or objectives for the superintendent, including a time line for completing each. The time line may extend past the end of the school year. 

Later in the school year – for some of you that will be right now - the board, in executive session, must assess the superintendent’s achievement of those goals or objectives, as well as his or her success in improving student achievement across the county and in low performing schools.  With the county superintendent’s consent, the evaluation process may include input from other parties, such as citizens and employees.

When the evaluation is complete, the board must release a general public statement about the process and overall result. Additional information may be released only if the board and superintendent agree. A board may, but need not, use evaluation results in deciding whether to offer its superintendent another contract when the current contract expires, and on what terms.

Remember to check your local policy for specific provisions.  Most, if not all, county boards adopted superintendent evaluation policies more than a decade ago, when the law requiring the evaluations took effect.

Editor's Note: Kim Croyle is a partner at the law firm of Bowles Rice.