Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
12/8/2022

Chapter 720. Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions

8VAC20-720-10. Definitions.

The following word or term when used in this chapter shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Textbooks" means print or electronic media for students use that serve as the primary curriculum basis for grade-level subject or course.

Statutory Authority

§ 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 26, eff. September 26, 2012.

8VAC20-720-80. Student fees and charges.

A. No fees or charges may be levied on any pupil by any school board unless authorized by regulation of the Board of Education or by the General Assembly.

B. Each local school board shall develop a policy in accordance with the requirements of the Standards of Quality, § 22.1-253.13:7 of the Code of Virginia, addressing any fees that are charged. The policy shall include the schedule of fees charged by the school division, provisions for reducing or waiving fees, and consequences for nonpayment of fees. The policy and the fee schedule shall be provided to parents annually and posted on the school division's website.

C. The policy shall provide for the reduction or waiver of fees for economically disadvantaged students and students whose families are undergoing economic hardships and are financially unable to pay them. This shall include, but not be limited to, families receiving unemployment benefits or public assistance, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid; foster families caring for children in foster care; or families that are homeless.

D. School divisions shall provide notice that a fee waiver may be requested, including directions as to how to apply for the waiver, each time a fee is charged.

E. School divisions shall not charge any fees that have not been approved by the local school board.

F. The fee policy and the fee schedule shall be consistent throughout the school division, although there may be different fee schedules assessed at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

G. Local school boards shall not charge fees:

1. As a condition of school enrollment, except for students who are not of school-age or who do not reside within the jurisdiction, in accordance with §§ 22.1-1 and 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia and as provided for in § 22.1-5 of the Code of Virginia;

2. For instructional programs and activities, or materials required for instruction, except as specified in subsection H of this section;

3. For textbooks or textbook deposits; however, § 22.1-243 of the Code of Virginia permits a local school board to assess a reasonable fee or charge for lost or damaged textbooks;

4. For pupil transportation to and from school; or

5. For summer school programs or other forms of remediation required by the Standards of Quality, § 22.1-253.13:1 of the Code of Virginia.

H. Local school boards may charge fees for the following:

1. Optional services, such as parking or locker rental;

2. Student-selected extracurricular activities;

3. Class dues; however, class dues shall not be mandatory, and the school board shall specify the kinds of programs and activities covered by class dues;

4. Field trips or educationally-related programs that are not required instructional activities;

5. Fees for musical instruments, so long as the instruction in the use of musical instruments is not part of the required curriculum;

6. Distance learning classes for enrichment and not necessary to meet the requirements for a diploma;

7. Summer school, unless the classes are required for remediation as prescribed by the Standards of Quality, § 22.1-253.13:1 of the Code of Virginia;

8. Overdue or lost or damaged library books;

9. Lost or damaged textbooks, in accordance with § 22.1-243 of the Code of Virginia; however, textbooks shall be provided free of charge;

10. Consumable materials such as workbooks, writing books, drawing books , and fine arts materials and supplies; however, in accordance with § 22.1-243 of the Code of Virginia, the local school board shall develop a policy ensuring that workbooks, writing books, drawing books , and fine arts materials and supplies are furnished to students who are unable to afford them at a reduced price or free of charge . In addition, local school boards are not authorized to charge fees to students for instructional materials, textbooks, or other materials that are not directly used by a public school student;

11. The behind-the-wheel portion of the driver's education program in accordance with § 22.1-205 of the Code of Virginia;

12. A fee not to exceed a student's pro rata share of the cost of providing transportation for voluntary extracurricular activities, in accordance with § 22.1-176 of the Code of Virginia; and

13. The preparation and distribution of official paper copies of student transcripts; however, each school board shall provide a reasonable number of copies for free before a charge is levied for additional official copies. Official electronic copies of student transcripts shall be provided for free.

H. Local school boards shall not:

1. Withhold any student's scholastic report card or diploma because of nonpayment of fees and charges, in accordance with § 22.1-6 of the Code of Virginia;

2. Withhold any student's class schedule; or

3. Suspend or expel a student for nonpayment of fees and charges.

I. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the school board of any county, city, or town from making supplies, services, or materials available to pupils at cost.

J. These regulations do not address the operation of school stores or fund-raising activities where transactions are strictly voluntary.

Statutory Authority

§ 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 6, eff. December 19, 2012.

8VAC20-720-160. Instructional materials.

A. Local school boards shall be responsible for the selection and utilization of instructional materials.

B. Local school boards shall adopt policies and criteria for the selection of instructional materials that shall include, at a minimum:

1. The rights of parents to inspect, upon request, any instructional materials used as part of the educational curriculum for students, and the procedure for granting a request by a parent for such access, in accordance with the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 USC § 1232H, and its implementing regulation, 34 CFR Part 9;

2. The basis upon which a person may seek reconsideration of the local school board's selection of instructional materials, including but not limited to materials that might be considered sensitive or controversial, and the procedures for doing so; and

3. Pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:7 of the Code of Virginia, clear procedures for handling challenged controversial materials.

Statutory Authority

§ 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 26, eff. September 26, 2012.

8VAC20-720-170. Textbooks.

A. Textbook approval.

1. The Board of Education shall have the authority to approve textbooks for use in the public schools of Virginia.

2. In approving basal textbooks for reading in kindergarten and first grade, the Board of Education shall report to local school boards those textbooks with a minimum decodability standard based on words that students can correctly read by properly attaching speech sounds to each letter to formulate the word at 70% or above for such textbooks in accordance with § 22.1-239 of the Code of Virginia.

3. Any local school board may use textbooks not approved by the Board of Education provided the local school board selects such books in accordance with this chapter.

4. Contracts and purchase orders with publishers of textbooks approved by the Board of Education for use in grades 6-12 shall allow for the purchase of printed textbooks, printed textbooks with electronic files, or electronic textbooks separate and apart from printed versions of the same textbook. Each local school board shall have the authority to purchase an assortment of textbooks in any of the three forms listed in this subdivision.

B. Procedures for selection of textbooks by local school boards. Local school boards shall adopt procedures for the selection of textbooks. These procedures shall include, at a minimum, the following:

1. Appointment of evaluation committees by the local school board to review and evaluate textbooks in each of the subject areas.

2. Notice to parents that textbooks under consideration for approval will be listed on the school division's website and made available at designated locations for review by any interested citizens.

3. Opportunities for those reviewing such textbooks to present their comments and observations, if any, to the local school board through locally approved procedures.

4. Procedures to ensure appropriate consideration of citizen comments and observations.

5. Selection criteria.

C. Local school board selection of textbooks other than those approved by the Board of Education.

1. The selection process for non-Board of Education approved textbooks is subject to the procedures outlined in subsection B of this section.

2. The selection process for such textbooks pertaining to Virginia Standards of Learning subjects shall include at the local level a correlation of the content to the Virginia Standards of Learning in the content area and an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the textbook in terms of instructional planning and support.

3. The publisher of such textbooks shall:

a. Provide to the local school board a certification that the content of the textbook is accurate; and

b. Sign an agreement with the local school board to correct all factual and editing errors found in a textbook at its own expense.

D. Purchasing Board of Education approved textbooks.

1. Local school divisions shall purchase textbooks approved by the Board of Education directly from the publishers of the textbooks by either entering into written term contracts or issuing purchase orders on an as-needed basis in accordance with § 22.1-241 of the Code of Virginia.

2. Such written contracts or purchase orders shall be exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq. of the Code of Virginia).

E. Purchasing non-Board of Education approved textbooks. The purchase of textbooks other than those approved by the Board of Education is not exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

F. Distribution of textbooks. Each local school board shall provide, free of charge, such textbooks required for courses of instruction for each child attending public schools.

G. Certifications.

1. The division superintendent and chairperson of the local school board shall annually certify to the Virginia Department of Education that:

a. All textbooks were selected and purchased in accordance with this chapter; and

b. The price paid for each textbook in accordance with § 22.1-241 of the Code of Virginia.

2. The certification shall include a list of all textbooks adopted by the local school board.

Statutory Authority

§ 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 26, eff. September 26, 2012; Errata, 30:4 VA.R. 453 October 21, 2013; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 12, eff. March 27, 2014.

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