[1994/oagheade.htm]

OAG 94-8

February 15, 1994

Ms. Diane Price, President

Jefferson County Teachers Association

1941 Bishop Lane

Louisville, KY 40218

Ms. Judy Moutardier, President

15th District PTA

C.B. Young, Jr., Service Center

3001 Crittenden Drive

Louisville, KY 40209-1104

Dear Ms. Price and Ms. Moutardier:

On behalf of the Jefferson County Teacher's Association and the 15th District PTA, you have written our office to request an opinion regarding questions related to the committees of school-based decision making counsels. Specifically, you have asked our office the following three questions:

1. Does a local school board have the authority to adopt a policy requiring school councils to have committees;

2. Can a local school board require parent representation on school council committees; and

3. Can a local school board require minority representation on school council committees?

Our response to all of these questions requires an analysis of KRS 160.345(2)(d) and (e) which govern school council committees and provide:

(d) All certified staff at a school may be participants in the school-based decision making. The staff may divide into committees according to their areas of interest, such as, but not limited to, grouped grade levels, subject areas, and special programs. Each committee shall elect by a majority of the committee a chair, who shall serve for a term of one (1) year. The committee shall submit its recommendations to the school council for consideration.

(e) The school council and each of its committees shall determine the frequency of and agenda for their meetings. Matters relating to formation of school councils that are not provided for by this section shall be addressed by local board policy.

Your first question is whether a local school board has the authority to adopt a policy requiring school councils to have committees. It is our opinion that a local school board does not have this authority. KRS 160.345(2)(d) and (e) grant the school council the power to establish committees. KERA does not authorize a local school board to adopt a policy requiring school councils to form committees. The individual school council has the discretion to form committees.

Secondly, you ask whether a local school board may require parental representation on school council committees. To answer this question KRS 160.345(3) must be analyzed to determine the issues relating to implementing school-based decision making that shall be addressed by the local board.

KRS 160.345(3)(e) provides:

(3) The policy adopted by the local board to implement school-based decision making shall also address the following:

* * *

(e) Parent, citizen, and community participation including the relationship of the council with other groups[.]

It is the opinion of this office that KRS 160.345(3)(e) authorizes the local school board to adopt policies requiring parental representation on school council committees. Thus, as we stated in question one, a local school board may not require a school council to form committees; however, if committees are formed the school board has statutory power to enact a policy requiring the school council to allow parents to serve on committees. [1]

In reaching our conclusion we have reviewed our prior opinion in OAG 92-57. In OAG 92-57 we held that whether parents may participate on committees of school councils is a matter of policy to be determined by the local school board. We note that KRS 160.345(2)(d) has been amended since we issued OAG 92-57 to exclude the mandatory language relating to formation of committees. However, the amendments to KRS 160.345(2)(d) do not change our answer. Our opinion today is consistent with OAG 92-57.

Lastly, you ask whether a local school board may require minority representation on school council committees. It is the opinion of this office that the issue of minority representation on school council committees has already been addressed by the General Assembly in KRS 156.500. Thus, the local school board is statutorily obligated to follow the dictates of KRS 156.500.

In KRS 156.500 the General Assembly addressed the issue of minority representation on certain boards and bodies created by KERA. This statute provides:

The General Assembly directs that appointments made by the appointing authority to every board, commission, council or other type of advisory or decision-making body created or reenacted by the Education Reform Act of 1990 reflect reasonable minority representation of the membership and that active minority participation at every level of implementation be continually encouraged.

KRS 156.500.

It is our opinion that school council committees are advisory bodies created by KERA. Therefore, school council committees must be formed consistent with KRS 156.500, which requires reasonable minority representation on the committees.

In conclusion, KRS 160.345 grants authority to form committees to school-based decision making councils. It is our interpretation that this power grants school councils the power to form committees as well as the power not to form committees. Additionally, the school council has the statutory power to create any number of committees and appoint the committee members. A local school board does not have the authority to adopt a policy requiring school councils to have committees. Secondly, KRS 160.345(3)(e) authorizes a local school board to require parental involvement with any school council committees formed. Lastly, KRS 156.500 requires reasonable minority representation on said committees.

Sincerely yours,

CHRIS GORMAN

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Lynne Schroering

Assistant Attorney General


Footnotes

[1].As a caveat, we do not believe that a school board could enact a policy precluding any parents from serving on school council committees. KRS 160.345(9)(a) provides that no board member shall engage in a practice which circumvents the ability of parents to be involved in the decision making process in working toward meeting the educational goals set forth in KERA.