HOUSE BILL NO. 1555
Offered January 9, 2013
Prefiled January 4, 2013
A BILL to amend and reenact 22.1-25 and 22.1-212.23 of the
Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 13 of
Title 22.1 an article numbered 1.5, consisting of sections numbered 22.1-212.28
through 22.1-212.33, relating to public education; Virginia State Virtual
Patron-- Bell, Richard P.
Committee Referral Pending
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That 22.1-25 and 22.1-212.23 of the Code of
Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by
adding in Chapter 13 of Title 22.1 an article numbered 1.5, consisting of
sections numbered 22.1-212.28 through 22.1-212.33, as follows:
22.1-25. How school divisions made.
A. The Board of Education shall divide the Commonwealth into
school divisions of such geographical area and school-age population as will
promote the realization of the standards of quality required by of Article
VIII, Section 2 of the Constitution of Virginia, subject to the following
1. The school divisions as they exist on July 1, 1978, shall
be and remain the school divisions of the Commonwealth until further action of
the Board of Education taken in accordance with the provisions of this section
except that when a town becomes an independent city, the town shall also become
a school division.
2. No school division shall be divided or consolidated without
the consent of the school board thereof and the governing body of the county or
city affected or, if a town comprises the school division, of the town council.
3. No change shall be made in the composition of any school
division if such change conflicts with any joint resolution expressing the
sense of the General Assembly with respect thereto adopted at the session next
following January 1 of the year in which the composition of such school
division is to be changed.
B. Notice of any change in the composition of a school
division proposed by the Board of Education shall be given by the
Superintendent of Public Instruction, on or before January 1 of the year in
which the composition of such school division is to be changed, to the clerks
of the school board and of the governing body involved and to each member of
the General Assembly.
C. Subject to the conditions set forth in subsection A, the
Board of Education shall consider the following criteria in determining
appropriate school divisions:
1. The school-age population of the school division proposed
to be divided or consolidated.
2. The potential of the proposed school division to facilitate
the offering of a comprehensive program for kindergarten through grade 12 at
the level of the established standards of quality.
3. The potential of the proposed school division to promote
efficiency in the use of school facilities and school personnel and economy in
4. Anticipated increase or decrease in the number of children
of school age in the proposed school division.
5. Geographical area and topographical features as they relate
to existing or available transportation facilities designed to render
reasonable access by pupils to existing or contemplated school facilities.
6. The ability of each existing school division to meet the
standards of quality with its own resources and facilities or in cooperation
with another school division or divisions if arrangements for such cooperation
have been made.
D. Consistent with its authority pursuant to Article VIII,
Section 5 of the Constitution of Virginia to designate school divisions in the
Commonwealth of such geographic size and school-age population as will best
promote the realization of the standards of quality, the Board shall promulgate
regulations consistent with the provisions of this section that provide for a
process whereby school divisions may submit proposals for the consolidation of
school divisions. Such regulations shall provide for, among other things, a
public notice and hearing process to be conducted by the applicant school
School divisions submitting proposals for consolidation shall
include such information and data as may be required by the Board, including
(i) the criteria set forth in subsection C; (ii) evidence of the cost savings
to be realized by such consolidation; (iii) a plan for the transfer of title to
school board property to the resulting combined school board governing the
consolidated division; (iv) procedures and a schedule for the proposed
consolidation, including completion of current division superintendent and
school board member terms; (v) a plan for proportional school board
representation of the localities comprising the new school division, including
details regarding the appointment or election processes currently ensuring such
representation and other information as may be necessary to evidence compliance
with federal and state laws governing voting rights; and (vi) evidence of local
support for the proposed consolidation.
For five years following completion of such consolidation, the
computation of the state and local share for an educational program meeting the
standards of quality for school divisions resulting from consolidations
approved pursuant to this subsection shall be the lower composite index of
local ability-to-pay of the applicant school divisions, as provided in the
As used in this article:
"Multidivision online provider" means (i) a private
or nonprofit organization that enters into a contract with a local school board
to provide online courses or programs through that school board to students who
reside in Virginia both within and outside the geographical boundaries of that
school division; (ii) a private or nonprofit organization that enters into
contracts with multiple local school boards to provide online courses or
programs to students in grades K through 12 through those school boards;
or (iii) a local school board
that provides online courses or programs to students who reside in Virginia but
outside the geographical boundaries of that school division.
However, "multidivision online provider" shall not include (a) a local
school board's online learning program in which fewer than 10 percent of the
students enrolled reside outside the geographical boundaries of that school
division; (b) multiple local school boards that establish joint online courses or
programs in which fewer than 10 percent of the students enrolled reside outside
the geographical boundaries of those school divisions; (c) local school boards
that provide online learning courses or programs for their students through an
arrangement with a public or private institution of higher education; or (d)
local school boards providing online courses or programs through a private or
nonprofit organization that has been approved as a multidivision online
"Online course" means a course or grade-level
subject instruction that (i) is delivered by a multidivision online provider
primarily electronically using the Internet or other computer-based methods and
(ii) is taught by a teacher primarily from a remote location, with student
access to the teacher given synchronously, asynchronously, or both.
"Virtual school program" means a series of online
courses with instructional content that (i) is delivered by a multidivision
online provider primarily electronically using the Internet or other computer-based
methods; (ii) is taught by a teacher primarily from a remote location, with
student access to the teacher given synchronously, asynchronously, or both;
(iii) is delivered as a part-time or full-time program; and (iv) has an online
component with online lessons and tools for student and data management.
An online course or virtual school program may be delivered to
students at school as part of the regularly scheduled school day.