The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

March 15, 2013

Education bill headed to vote

Endorsed by final Senate committee

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s education proposal headed to a Friday vote on passage in the Senate after its endorsement Thursday by the Finance Committee, which learned it would save an estimated $630,000 during the next budget year and $2.1 million the following year.

The money stems from 5 percent in personnel cuts added to the bill Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee for each of those budget years. Senate Finance advanced the measure without any amendments, keeping intact its proposed changes to the school calendar, teacher hiring and transfers, and other areas of state education policy.

Thursday’s voice vote was not unanimous. Emerging as a major critic of the measure, Senate Majority John Unger quizzed state Schools Superintendent James Phares and Board of Education President Wade Linger about the estimated savings. The Berkeley County Democrat also questioned each about the board’s decision Wednesday to hire Donna Perduto as its new director of operations at $104,000 a year.

Unger later called for nonpartisan elections for board members, who are now appointed by the governor, and introduced a proposed constitutional amendment to make that change.

At nearly 190 pages, the bill seeks to advance Tomblin’s goals of ensuring that every 3rd grader ends that year reading at grade level, and that high school students enter their senior years ready for college or career training. It offers loan forgiveness to teachers assigned to subjects or parts of the state facing critical shortages. It would pay the $1,150 renewal fee for teachers with vaunted national certification.

The governor’s bill also frees up other days in the annual school calendar so counties can provide the 180 days of student instruction required by law. Snow days routinely prevent counties from reaching that mandate. As amended by Senate Education, this part of the bill would guarantee teachers at least four faculty senate meetings once school begins. The bill also no longer counts attending athletic tournaments and playoffs toward instructional days.

Addressing concerns raised by county superintendents regarding seniority’s role in hiring and transfers, Tomblin proposed placing that factor among seven others. County boards would decide which to emphasize when choosing applicants. Senate Education amended the bill to allow a teacher’s seniority within a county to count when facing transfer within a school. As amended, the bill allows counties to repost classroom teacher vacancies only once, and then only if fewer than three people had applied.

Groups representing teachers and school workers have objected to the calendar and hiring and transfer provisions. They also oppose the bill inviting Teach for America into the state. Senate Education removed mention of the nonprofit group, but the bill still offers a path for participants in such a national program to earn temporary teaching certificates. That committee’s amendment also sends temporarily certified teachers to middle and high schools for critical need subjects or areas of the state.

A successful vote Friday would send the measure to the House of Delegates.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Battle won in black lung fight

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.
    Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • Justice mines have more than 250 violations in five states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.
    The Courier-Journal cited data from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in reporting that almost half of the citations against mines owned by Jim Justice are located in Kentucky, where enforcement officials have set an Aug. 11 deadline to take corrective action.

    August 1, 2014

  • Coal dust limit to try to combat black lung

    The Obama administration’s push to reduce black lung disease by limiting coal dust in mines is taking effect.

    July 31, 2014

  • Barboursville to host 2015 regional soccer tourney

    A youth soccer regional tournament will be held next year in Barboursville.

    July 31, 2014

  • Kroger restricts pseudoephedrine sales in W.Va.

    Supermarket chain Kroger is tightening monthly purchase limits of cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine at its West Virginia stores.

    July 31, 2014

  • Two state tornadoes occur on same day

    West Virginia gets few tornadoes on average every year, yet two of them occurred on one recent day.
    While the sheer number of annual tornadoes pales in comparison to other states, they do occur in West Virginia, with its vast network of hills and mountains. Two of them formed 55 miles apart on Sunday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • I-77 tunnel repair complete

    Repairs to an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border have been completed following a truck fire.

    July 30, 2014

  • Another tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    Another tornado has been confirmed in West Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pierpont, WVU-Parkersburg enter transfer agreement

    West Virginia University at Parkersburg has signed a transfer agreement with Pierpont Community & Technical College.

    July 30, 2014

  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads