This time of the year county board of education personnel offices are busy filling both professional and service positions for the fast approaching 2014-15 school year (yeah, it’s hard to believe the school year will be here soon). At the same time, the personnel offices are becoming more familiar with West Virginia Department of Education Policy 5000 as it relates to professional positions for the upcoming 2014-15 school year, many of which will be filled by the transferring of regular employee applicants. The purpose of this month’s education alert is to remind county boards of education of the “stay put” provisions for professional personnel found in W. Va. Code § 18A-4-7a. Recall that beginning in the 2012-13 school year the “stay put” provisions changed from five days to 20 days.

Specifically, W. Va. Code § 18A-4-7a provided that:

After the twentieth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term, no person employed and assigned to a professional position may transfer to another professional position in the county during that instructional term unless the person holding that position does not have valid certification. The provisions of this subsection are subject to the following:

  1. The person may apply for any posted, vacant positions with the successful applicant assuming the position at the beginning of the next instructional term;
  2. Personnel who have been on an approved leave of absence may fill these vacancies upon their return from the approved leave of absence;
  3. County board, upon recommendation of the superintendent may fill a position before the next instructional term when it is determined to be in the best interest of the students. The county superintendent shall notify the State Board of each transfer of a person employed in a professional position to another professional position after the twentieth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term;
  4. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to the filling of a position vacated because of resignation or retirement that became effective on or before the twentieth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term, but not posted until after that date; and
  5. The Legislature finds that it is not in the best interest of the students particularly in the elementary grades to have multiple teachers for any one grade level or course during the instructional term. It is the intent of the Legislature that the filling of positions through transfers of personnel from one professional position to another after the twentieth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term should be kept to a minimum.

In short, W. Va. Code § 18A-4-7a provides that after the twentieth day prior to the beginning of the instructional year, no professional employee may transfer to another professional position in the county during the instructional year. However, there are exceptions which apply should a transfer be recommended by the superintendent. And, as indicated above in paragraph (4), the statutory language provides that the “stay put” rule is not applicable to filling a vacancy that resulted from a “resignation or retirement that took effect on or before the twentieth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term, but not posted until after that date.”