With the regular high school football season coming to an end in West Virginia, comes the playoffs for 48 high schools. With the playoffs comes traveling, and with traveling there is usually an increase in the use of charter buses during this time. The purpose of this month’s educational newsletter is to provide a refresher on charter bus usage for West Virginia county boards of education.
In 2007, the West Virginia State Legislature amended the West Virginia Code to require certain verifications from private charter companies before those companies could transport more than 16 students to school sponsored events, such as high school football games. Specifically, West Virginia Code § 18-5-13(f)(6) provides that students may not be transported to school-sponsored activities in a vehicle that has a seating capacity of 16 or more passengers which is not owned or operated by the county board of education unless the vehicle meets certain insurance, safety and related requirements.
According to West Virginia Code § 18-5-13(f)(6)(B), the transportation company which operates the private charter buses “shall provide to the county board proof that the vehicle and the driver satisfy the requirements of the State Board rule.” Unfortunately, the law does not provide any guidance as to what “proof” is required. Instead, the Legislature in 2007 directed that the West Virginia State Board of Education (“State Board”) to "promulgate rules", and provide additional guidance. To that end, the State Board adopted Policy 4336 in October of 2008. Policy 4336 mirrors the West Virginia Code language.
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