OAG 93-49


July 1, 1993


Hon. Carl D. Edwards, Jr.

VanAntwerp, Monge, Jones & Edwards

1544 Winchester Avenue, Fifth Floor

Ashland, Kentucky 41101

Dear Mr. Edwards:

As legal counsel for the Boyd County Public School System you have asked our office for an opinion regarding the qualifications of persons eligible to cast ballots for school council elections.

You present the following facts and question:

A teacher employed by the school district has been assigned to an instructional position at "School A." This same teacher is a parent of a child attending "School B." Under the recent legislative amendments to KRS 160.345(2)(a), it is clear that this particular teacher may serve as a teacher-member of the school council at "School A" and may not serve as a parent-member of the council at "School B." However, is this particular individual a qualified voter in both elections? In other words, may the teacher cast a teacher ballot at "School A" and a parent ballot at "School B"? If the individual may participate in only one of these elections, in which can he/she cast a ballot or may he/she choose that election in which he/she participates?

The KERA statute dealing with School Based Decision Making Council elections, KRS 160.345, provides little guidance to answering your question. KRS 160.345(2)(b) provides in part:

The parent members shall be elected by the parent members of the parent teacher organization of the school or, if none exists, the largest organization of parents formed for this purpose . . . .

KRS 160.345(2)(b) does not exclude district employees from the parents eligible to cast a vote for the parent representatives. We must assume that the General Assembly was well aware that teachers often wear two hats, one as a parent and the other as a teacher. Parents who are also teachers understandably desire a voice in their child's education and in the performance of the child's school. We believe that KRS 160.345 does not prohibit the teacher sin your question from voting for the teacher council representatives at School A and also voting as parent members of the Parent Teacher Organization at School B. You are correct that the teacher/parent may not serve as the parent representative on a school council in the school district in which he or she is employed. KRS 160.345(2)(a).

You also present the following variation of the foregoing factual situation:

Presented here is the scenario where the teacher has been assigned to an instructional position at the same school where his/her child is enrolled as a student. Obviously, to permit this teacher/parent to participate in the election of teacher representatives and parent representative effectively gives the individual two votes for members to the same council. Is this permissible or does the statute contemplate that the teacher/parent will participate in only one of the elections and, if so, in which of the elections is the teacher/parent a qualified voter?

As with the foregoing question, KRS 160.345 provides little guidance in determining whether a teacher/parent with a child enrolled in the same school may vote for the teacher representatives and parent representatives to the school council. While the legislature clearly stated that the teacher/parent may not serve as a parent representative, it did not prohibit a teacher/parent from voting for the parent representatives. Without clear guidance from the General Assembly, we do not believe it is permissible to disfranchise these voters Therefore, we believe that the teacher/parent with a child enrolled in the same school may vote for the teacher representatives and the parent representatives at that school.

In summary, a teacher may cast a vote for the teacher representatives at his or her school and also cast a vote for the parent representatives at another school where his or her child is enrolled. Additionally, if the teacher has been assigned to the same school where his or her child is enrolled then the teacher may vote for the teacher representatives and the parent representatives.

Sincerely yours,

CHRIS GORMAN

ATTORNEY GENERAL





Lynne Schroering

Assistant Attorney General

(502) 564-7600

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