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Winter - 2005

Berkeley County Previously we reported on the practice in Berkeley County of charging deposits of as much as $150 to homeschool families who use county school textbooks, despite State Superintendent interpretations on this matter [see WVHEA Report, August 2002]. Some homeschool parents in the county questioned the policy, and Karen Larry, the State Superintendent’s executive assistant for non-public education, discussed the matter with county personnel, pointing out the illegality of the practice. Still, county representatives continued to require homeschoolers to pay a deposit for textbooks.

One persistent homeschool parent, Marilyn Kinyon of Hedgesville, kept after the county via email, politely maintaining that textbook deposits were not valid. Chris Coffinberger, a secretary at the county board of education (BOE), replied that the BOE’s legal department would research the issue. Finally, last November Ms. Coffinberger informed Ms. Kinyon that the county would discontinue the practice of charging deposits for textbooks.

Ms. Coffinberger does want to make sure homeschoolers understand that the county loans the textbooks to homeschoolers, and that the books must be returned at the end of the school year.

Summer 2004

Berkeley County In July we learned that Berkeley County charges homeschoolers $150 to rent textbooks for the school year.    There is a State Superintendent’s interpretation on this issue, dated September 23, 2002. It states, in part,

When previously interpreting this section of West Virginia Code, Henry Marockie stated “that you must provide home-schooled children with free textbooks, workbooks and other instructional materials necessary for successful completion of their curricula as though they were attending public school.” Superintendent Interpretation October 4, 1990 addressed to Samson D. Bland.

I know of no new law that would permit the practice of charging such a deposit to public or home-schooled students. Your county may charge a fee to replace damaged, destroyed or lost materials if the same is part of a policy that applies equally to public and home-schooled students.

(See http://wvde.state.wv.us/interpretations/view/15/157/interpretation.html for the full interpretation.)

A Berkeley County parent whose children were in the county schools last year stated that children in county schools are not charged a textbook rental fee.