May 19, 1994
Hon. Herbert L. Segal
2100 Waterfront Plaza
325 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202-4251
Dear Mr. Segal:
You have asked our office to reconsider our opinion in OAG 92-133 regarding the ability of a local school board to enact seniority policies for classified employees. We agree that our opinion should be re-examined in light of the General Assembly's recent enactment of House Bill 50 which requires local school districts to enter into written contracts with classified employees. The pertinent language of House Bill 50 amending KRS 161.011 which impacts this issue provides in part:
(5) Local districts shall enter into written contracts with classified employees.
(6) Local school boards shall develop and provide to all classified employees written policies which shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Terms and conditions of employment;
(b) Identification and documentation of fringe benefits, employee rights, and procedures for the reduction or laying off of employees; and
(c) Discipline guidelines and procedures that satisfy due process requirements.
(7) Local school boards shall maintain a registry of all vacant classified employee positions that is available for public inspection in a location determined by the superintendent and make copies available at cost to interested parties. If financially feasible, local school boards may provide training opportunities for classified employees focusing on topics to include, but not be limited to, suicide prevention, abuse recognition, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
(8) The evaluation of the local board policies required for classified personnel as set out in this section shall be subject to review by the Department of Education while it is conducting district management audits pursuant to KRS 158.785.
In OAG 92-133, we opined that a local board of education could not adopt a seniority policy for classified employees since KERA removed personnel duties from the local board and placed employment responsibility in the hands of the superintendent. KRS 160.370 - 160.390; OAG 90-129.
We interpret House Bill 50 to grant local school boards the authority to enter into contracts with classified employees regarding terms and conditions of employment including procedures for the reduction or laying-off of employees. The General Assembly's specific reference to policies regarding reduction or laying-off of employees clearly contemplates the ability of a local school board to adopt a seniority policy for classified employees.
Local school boards and the position of superintendent are created by the legislature and receive their powers and duties as a result of legislation. The General Assembly in its discretion amended KRS 161.011 and specifically granted local school boards the authority to adopt written policies to identify which categories of classified employees shall be laid off first in the event of a reduction in work force.
In conclusion, our opinion in OAG 92-133 is overruled since the 1994 General Assembly enacted House Bill 50 which provides local school boards with the authority to adopt a seniority policy for classified employees.
Assistant Attorney General