West Virginia education reform awaits Senate, Governor approval

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — Teachers and their supporters protested loudly, but in the end, the House voted to approve a massive education bill, that will initially allow three charter schools in West Virginia. No Democrats supported the measure.

“Well my concern is the proponent for charter schools. And I think the citizens of West Virginia especially our educators were overwhelmingly opposed to that, so I’m disappointed,” said Del. Cindy Lavender-Bowe, (D) Greenbrier.

“My constituents, the majority of my constituents, do not want charter schools,” said Del. Lisa Zukoff, (D) Marshall.

But many Republicans say three charter schools, is a good compromise, given that the original bill allowed unlimited charters. Plus, there are a lot of other benefits in the bill.

“A historic pay raise for teachers. An investment in mental health and counselors in our schools – historic investments. Tax credits for teachers that invest in their classrooms. And then school choice, school options and flexibility,” said State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson – Senate President.

The increased pay could slow the number of teachers leaving West Virginia.

“I think in all of our border counties in particular, we really struggle, not only to attract, but to retain quality teachers. I mean they can go right across the border for significantly higher pay,” said Del. Paul Espinosa, Chairman, (R) Jefferson – Education Committee.

This is the second straight year teachers and school staff will receive a five-percent pay raise.

The now-approved House education reform bill now heads back to the State Senate for a vote there. If approved there it goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

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