Vol. 25 Iss. 26 - August 31, 2009

Chapter 281
Final Regulation

Titles of Regulations: 8VAC20-280. Jointly Owned and Operated Schools and Jointly Operated Programs (repealing 8VAC20-280-10, 8VAC20-280-20).

8VAC20-281. Regulations Governing Jointly Owned and Operated Schools and Jointly Operated Programs (adding 8VAC20-281-10, 8VAC20-281-20, 8VAC20-281-30).

Statutory Authority: § 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: October 19, 2009.

Agency Contact: Dr. Margaret N. Roberts, Office of Policy & Communications, Department of Education, P.O. Box 2120, 101 N. 14th St., 25th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 225-2540, FAX (804) 225-2524, or email


The Regulations Governing Jointly Owned and Operated Schools and Jointly Operated Programs were adopted on or before September 1, 1980. These regulations have not been amended since then and do not address changes made in these programs since that time. Joint schools include academic-year Governor's schools, alternative education centers, career and technical centers, and special education centers. In a concurrent action, the Board of Education is repealing the text of the current regulations (8VAC20-280) and promulgating new regulations (8VAC20-281).

Significant changes are made to the original regulations. The first section is deleted because it is primarily aspirational; the second section is reorganized, revised, and streamlined; and a definitions section is added for clarity. The regulations also make membership requirements of the governing board of the joint school less restrictive and, in response to Chapter 45 of the 2007 Acts of Assembly, specify that the fiscal agent of the school board can be selected from any of the treasurers of the participating localities.

A new section is added to the final regulation pursuant to Chapter 49 of the 2008 Act of Assembly permitting any joint school already in operation to request a waiver from any new regulation requirements promulgated, effective July 1, 2008.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: A summary of comments made by the public and the agency's response may be obtained from the promulgating agency or viewed at the office of the Registrar of Regulations.


8VAC20-281-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms apply only to these regulations and do not supersede those definitions used for federal reporting purposes or for the calculation of costs related to the Standards of Quality (§ 22.1-253.13:1 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). When used in these regulations, these words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

[ "Alternative education program" means any program designed to offer instruction to students for whom the regular program of instruction may be inappropriate, as defined in § 22.1-276.01 of the Code of Virginia, and as prescribed in the Rules Governing Alternative Education (8VAC20-330).

"Classification of expenditures" means a system of accounting for all school funds, as prescribed in § 22.1-115 of the Code of Virginia.

"Finance officer" means fiscal agent for the joint school. ]

"Fiscal agent" means the treasurer of a county or city in which a joint school is physically located or the treasurer from one of the participating localities as selected by agreement of the participating local school boards with approval of the participating local governing bodies. (See [ also "finance officer" or ] "treasurer.")

"Joint board" means the governing board of the joint school. The joint board is composed of at least one member from each participating local school board.

"Joint school" means a [ program or school established by two or more local school boards, including a regional public charter school, as defined in § 22.1-212.5 of the Code of Virginia, or a comprehensive school offering part- or full-day programs 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 is not 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 ].

"Operation and maintenance" means budget preparation, contracts for services, personnel matters, use of or construction of a school building and grounds and the operation and maintenance thereof, and the provision of any services, activity, or undertaking that the joint school is required to perform in order to carry out its educational program.

"Regional public charter school" means a public charter school operated by two or more school boards and chartered directly by the participating school boards, as defined in § 22.1-212.5 of the Code of Virginia.

"Treasurer" means the fiscal agent of the joint school, in accordance with § 58.1-3123 of the Code of Virginia.

8VAC20-281-20. Organization and operating procedures.

Two or more school boards, by individual resolution, may establish a joint board to manage and control schools or programs jointly owned and operated in accordance with the following requirements:

1. Membership. The membership of the joint board shall be composed of at least one member of each of the local school boards participating in the joint program. Each school board shall fill any vacancies in its membership on the joint board. If a member of the joint board ceases to be a member of the school board that elected him, the local school board shall appoint his successor to the joint board. If at any time the number of members of the joint board shall fall below a quorum, the local board shall appoint a member to fill the vacancy or vacancies within 30 calendar days.

Members of the joint board may receive compensation fixed by each of the participating school boards. This compensation shall be paid by the local boards and shall not exceed the amount paid for service on the local school boards.

The joint board shall adopt bylaws or rules of operation and shall establish the length and beginning dates or terms of its members and establish committees that might be needed to carry out its responsibilities. Such bylaws shall address the receipt, custody, and disbursement of funds and the payment of all claims related to the operation and maintenance of the joint facility, consistent with the state statutes and regulations of the Board of Education.

2. Organization. The joint board shall elect from its membership a chairman who shall preside at its meetings and a vice-chairman who shall preside in the absence of the chairman.

The joint board shall elect a clerk and, if desired, a deputy clerk. Neither the clerk nor the deputy clerk shall be a member of the joint board but shall keep record of the proceedings. The compensation of the clerk and the deputy clerk shall be fixed by the joint board. The clerk and the deputy clerk shall execute bond of at least $10,000, as provided by § 22.1-76 of the Code of Virginia.

[ The joint board also shall elect a finance officer, who shall have custody of its funds, fix the compensation, and provide for bond. All disbursements shall be by warrant signed by the clerk of the joint board and countersigned by the finance officer. Through its finance officer, the joint board shall arrange for the safe depository of the funds and, where necessary, see that sufficient collateral is posted to secure such funds. ]

3. Authority. The joint board shall be authorized to employ the staff required to operate the joint school and programs; purchase supplies; purchase, sell, or dispose of equipment or appliances; determine policies concerning instruction; approve the curriculum in keeping with the general laws, and with the regulations and requirements of the Virginia Board of Education; maintain jointly owned school buildings; and, in general, manage, operate, and conduct joint schools and programs.

The title to all property acquired for joint schools shall vest jointly in the participating school boards in such respective proportions as the participating school boards may determine, and the schools or programs shall be managed and controlled by the participating school boards jointly. With the approval of the participating school boards and the respective local governing bodies, title to property acquired for a joint school shall be vested in the governing body of such school.

Except as otherwise provided, all meetings and procedures of the joint board shall be in accordance with provisions of §§ 22.1-72 through 22.1-75 of the Code of Virginia. Any action by the joint board shall be deemed an action by the school boards jointly owning such school.

4. Authority of the division superintendent. The division superintendents representing the counties or cities of the school boards that form the joint board shall constitute a Committee of Superintendents and shall jointly exercise the same authority they have in the counties or cities for which they are appointed. With the approval of their respective school boards, the division superintendents may elect one of their members as executive officer in whom may be vested such authority as the superintendents may from time to time find advisable.

The Committee of Superintendents shall prepare, with the advice and approval of the joint board, an annual program plan, budget, and plan for financing the operation of the joint school that would include appropriate state and local funding from each participating school division. The financing plan shall include an estimate of the amount of money that will be needed from each participating school system during the next scholastic year for operation and maintenance of the joint school facility. The estimate shall clearly show all necessary details and be provided in a timely manner so that the participating school boards may be well-informed about every item included in the estimate.

In case of disagreement, all matters shall be referred to the joint board for resolution.

5. Budget and expenditures. Each participating school board shall review and approve the annual budget presented by the joint board and provide funds to cover its share of the cost of operating and maintaining the joint school facility. The amount provided by each participating school board shall be made available for expenditures by the joint board as follows:

a. Funds to be provided by participating school boards shall be made available to the joint board upon its requests.

b. Funds to be provided on a fee for service basis shall be paid to the joint board upon receipt of an appropriate invoice.

On a regular monthly basis, the clerk of the joint board shall transmit to the Committee of Superintendents of the participating school boards an itemized statement of receipts and disbursements during the preceding months, with a cumulative statement of all receipts and disbursements since the beginning of the current fiscal year.

[ 8VAC20-281-30. Waiver of regulations' requirements.

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 to 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. ]