Superintendent's Memo #315-09
COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
November 13, 2009
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Joint School Regulations
Revisions to the Regulations Governing Jointly Owned and Operated Schools and Jointly Operated Programs were adopted by the Board of Education on April 30, 2009, and became effective October 19, 2009. Because the changes in the revised regulations were extensive, the previous regulations, 8 VAC 20-280-10 et seq., have been repealed and the new regulations were promulgated bearing the numbers 8 VAC 20-281-10 et seq.
These regulations provide joint schools and programs and joint school boards with guidance and operating procedures that support regional efforts to establish schools and programs that meet the needs of their communities and ensure that these schools and programs are managed appropriately and in a fiscally sound manner.
Highlights of the new regulations include the following:
- A definitions section has been added to the regulations for clarity (8 VAC 20-281-10). In this section the term, joint school, is defined as “a joint or regional school or program established by two or more local school boards, pursuant to 22.1-26 of the Code of Virginia, which may include but not be limited to a regional public charter school, a regional residential charter school, a regional academic year Governor’s school, a regional career and technical center, a regional special education program, or a regional alternative education program as defined in 22.1-209.1:2 of the Code of Virginia.
- Senate Bill 1099 was approved during the 2003 General Assembly Session. It allows two or more school boards, with the consent of the Board of Education, to establish joint or regional schools, including regional public charter schools, to serve as high schools offering a comprehensive high school curriculum and specialized training to students desiring to pursue careers in law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency and rescue services, and other occupations addressing public safety and welfare. The regulations incorporate this change.
- Senate Bill 553 was approved during the 2004 General Assembly Session. It allows two or more school boards, with the consent of the Board of Education, to establish joint or regional schools, including regional public charter schools, to serve as high schools offering a specialized curriculum leading to a high school diploma and a postsecondary credential, such as an industry certification, career certificate, or degree; or both. The regulations incorporate this change.
- House Bill 2371 was approved by the 2007 General Assembly Session. It permits all joint school boards, by agreement and with the approval of their governing bodies, to designate a fiscal agent for a joint school from among the treasurers of the participating localities. In addition, this bill allows title to property acquired for a joint school to be vested in the school’s governing body, with the approval of the participating school boards and the governing bodies. The regulations incorporate this change.
- House Bill 771 was approved during the 2008 General Assembly Session and became effective July 1, 2008. House Bill 771 allows some joint schools to request a waiver of the new regulation requirements. The relevant language in the new regulations at 8 VAC 20-281-30 provides:
Effective July 1, 2008, a joint school or program in operation prior to October 19, 2009, may request a waiver of the new requirements of the regulations. This waiver request shall be submitted by the Board of Education in a manner prescribed by the board. If the Board of Education grants the waiver request, the approved school shall continue to operate under the previous version of the regulations.
Please contact the Office of Policy and Communications at (804) 225-2092 or by e-mail at Policy@doe.virginia.gov if you have any questions about these regulations.