WV Senate holds over vote on education reform bill - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV Senate holds over vote on education reform bill

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Sistersville Woman Crowned Mrs. West Virginia, Will Compete for National Title

    Sistersville Woman Crowned Mrs. West Virginia, Will Compete for National Title

    Tuesday, July 15 2014 4:17 AM EDT2014-07-15 08:17:38 GMT
    A Sistersville mother, wife, and soon-to-be teacher, holds another very impressive title as she gets ready to take on the competition on a national stage.Mrs. West Virginia, Melissa Smith, will compete for the title of "Mrs.United States," in September. Smith travels throughout the state right now helping to push her platform. "Right now, I'm very focused on improving literacy education. I'm going to be an elementary school teacher and I have been traveling throughout West Virginia reading to...
    A Sistersville mother, wife, and soon-to-be teacher, holds another very impressive title as she gets ready to take on the competition on a national stage.Mrs. West Virginia, Melissa Smith, will compete for the title of "Mrs.United States," in September. Smith travels throughout the state right now helping to push her platform. "Right now, I'm very focused on improving literacy education. I'm going to be an elementary school teacher and I have been traveling throughout West Virginia reading to...
  • Federal judge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, sends 10 to prison for violating probation

    Federal judge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, sends 10 to prison for violating probation

    Sunday, July 6 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-07-06 15:00:12 GMT
    Nine Martinsburg, West Virginia, residents and another from Keyser were sentenced to federal prison for breaking the law while they were on supervised release or probation.
    Nine Martinsburg, West Virginia, residents and another from Keyser were sentenced to federal prison for breaking the law while they were on supervised release or probation.

Both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature say they want a strong education reform bill.

And that's why the Senate twice delayed action on the measure, Senate Bill 359, Friday.

"We can fly something out of there, but if it doesn't pass (the House of Delegates), it's not law. If the governor doesn't sign it, it's not law," Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, said after the Senate adjourned for the second time Friday afternoon.

"At the end of the day, it's going to be a cooperative effort between the stakeholders and the executive," Kessler said. "It's the governor's initiative and he's very highly involved, as well as legislative leaders, to see if we can get this thing done."

Kessler said the Senate has been meeting with stakeholders, including teachers unions, to iron out some of the remaining contentious issues in the bill, namely teacher seniority, the 180-day calendar and Teach for America. But Kessler said he thinks the final bill will please those stakeholders and gain support in the House.

"There's three or four issues," Kessler said. "I haven't been involved directly with the discussion. Hiring practices are obviously an issue. The calendar is another issue. I think we're making significant progress. We're close, but not completely there."

Kessler said the Legislature is "better off taking a deep breath," rather than passing the bill out too quickly.

Senate Bill 359 experienced a few stumbling blocks in committees. The Senate Education Committee took the first crack at it, meeting several times in recent weeks to work on the big issues. The Senate Finance Committee discussed the bill Thursday and passed it, though not unanimously, to the full Senate without any amendments.

There, rules to read the bill on three separate days were suspended so the bill could be taken up for vote immediately.

The Senate was originally scheduled to vote on the bill at 11 a.m. Friday, but Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, moved to recess the Senate until 2 p.m. so negotiations on SB 359 could continue. The Senate gaveled back in at about 3 p.m., when Unger then moved to lay the bill over until Monday.

Kessler said not acting on the bill immediately will allow the Senate to make sure the bill will pass both chambers soon.

"I think we're getting close. We figured we'd take another day or two and see if we can get a final version that maybe is more acceptable to both sides so we can get a bill hopefully through the whole Legislature by the end of the week," Kessler said.

The Senate will meet at 11 a.m. Monday.