OAG 93-52


July 2, 1993




Vic Hellard, Jr., Director

Legislative Research Commission

State Capitol

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Dear Mr. Hellard:

You have written our office regarding an interpretation of the Kentucky school-based decision making statute KRS 160.345. This statute requires that the SBDM council membership be composed of the principal or administrator, three teachers and two parents. KRS 160.345(2)(a). Additionally, this statute provides that the principal or head teacher shall be the chair of this school council. KRS 160.345(2)(b).

You explain that the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education has recently approved two alternative models that allow the specific school councils to elect their chairs rather than requiring the principal or head teacher to serve as a chair.

You question whether the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education had authority to approve the alternative models allowing the SBDM Council to elect the chair.

The SBDM statute allows schools which have school-based decision making but would like to be exempt from the "administrative structure" set forth by KRS 160.345 to develop an alternative model for implementing school-based decision making. KRS 160.345(7). This subsection provides in full:

A school that chooses to have school-based decision making but would like to be exempt from the administrative structure set forth by this section may develop a model for implementing school-based decision making including, but not limited to, a description of the membership, organization, duties, and responsibilities of a school council. The school shall submit the model through the local board of education to the chief state school officer and the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education, which shall have final authority for approval. The application for approval of the model shall show evidence that it has been developed by representatives of the parents, students, certified personnel, and the administrators of the school and that two-thirds (2/3) of the faculty have agreed to the model.

KRS 160.345(7).

It is the opinion of this office that the statutory provision requiring that the principal or head teacher serve as chair of the school council is part of the administrative structure of the council and may be altered with the approval of the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education. KRS 160.345(7). The role of chair for the school council has no special statutory duties and is the council member responsible for presiding over the council meetings.. The vote of the council chair carries no greater weight than any other council member. Of course, the principal or head teacher continues to remain the "primary administrator" and the "instructional leader" of the school. KRS 160.345(2)(c).

Accordingly, pursuant to KRS 160.345(7) a school may apply to be exempt from the SBDM administrative structure to allow the SBDM council to elect any member as a chair by submitting an administrative model through the appropriate channels to the Chief State School Officer and the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Sincerely yours,

CHRIS GORMAN

ATTORNEY GENERAL





Lynne Schroering

Assistant Attorney General

(502) 564-7600

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