3rd Report - 82nd Legislative Session

The current legislative session is more than half over.  Since the last report, several education issues have preoccupied members of the education committees.  One is the attempted repeal of the Common Core standards.  Some legislators are not satisfied that the content standards adopted by the West Virginia Board of Education are sufficiently different from Common Core. Quite a number of hours in the House Education Committee were devoted to this subject with the outcome not clear at this time.  

Another topic getting attention is the school calendar.  A number of bills have been introduced on this topic. The House Education subcommittee studying this issue has found fault with all of them.   However, the Senate is passing SB 313 (on its second reading in the Senate February 16).  This bill provides that accrued instructional time may be used to assist in attaining the equivalent of one hundred eighty instructional days, but only to the extent that non-instructional days or out-of-calendar days occurring after the last instructional day that was originally scheduled would otherwise need to be scheduled for the instruction of students [meaning the minutes can be used only to avoid going past the last day of school on the county calendar].

All teachers and state employees are concerned about the PEIA cut in benefits.  You will recall that Governor Tomblin in his State of the State Address asked the legislature to increase the tobacco tax and to put a tax on electronic devices.  He suggested using part of the resulting income to ameliorate  PEIA cuts in benefits. So far, the legislature has not acted on these proposals.  However, the Senate is supposed to take up SB 420 which increases the tax on tobacco this week.  The House claims it will do something to help PEIA but so far has not provided an specifics.

WVPE's legislative representative raised the issue of the need for uninterrupted time to prepare classrooms at the beginning of the school year with the chair of the House sub-committee on the school calendar.  After considerable negotiation, it was agreed that an attempt would be made to protect one day at the beginning of the school year for preparation without interruption.

In regard to accrued sick leave being counted toward retirement, since the present leadership seems uninterested in changing the current law,WVPE's legislative representative is working with a member of the House of Delegates to introduce a resolution to ask the Joint Education Committee during its interim sessions study the effects of last year's law which denies accrued sick leave being counted toward retirement.

 

Proposed Bills That Are Moving

HB 4301 – proposes a transformation in school leadership which emphasizes the principal as instructional leader and includes teacher input in improving student performance; proposes a career ladder for master teachers with additional compensation for specific assignments to achieve instructional and school improvement; passed House Education 2/2; to House Finance.

SB 105 -permits students instructed at home, by a private tutor or enrolled in a private, parochial or church school or a school operated by a religious order, to participate in extracurricular athletic or other extracurricular activities at a school that is a member of the WV Secondary School Activities Commission; on third reading in Senate 2/17.

SB 378 - relates to truancy intervention; expands the definition of excused absence; exempts absences for a chronic medical condition or disability; requires documentation from a medical provider in certain cases; limits number of days which may be excused absences; allows principal to authorize excused absences for other reason or for longer periods of time with the approval of the county superintendent; removes notice requirement after three days absence; requires written excuses or documentation to be submitted within certain time frame; and modifies the effect of student suspensions on enforcement of the provisions of compulsory attendance enforcement; passed Senate 2/11; to House Judiciary.

HB 4291 - increases penalties for teachers and service personnel who commit sexual offenses against children with whom they hold positions of trust; if convicted of such offense teachers and service personnel are prohibited from being employed by any educational, vocational, training, day care, group home, foster care program, or rehabilitation facility in the state; on third reading in House 2/17.

HB 4316 - relates to reimbursement of certification fee for NBPTS (National Board for Professional 

Teaching Standards) certification; requires the submission of satisfactory evidence to the West Virginia Department of Education for reimbursement in place of the present requirements; passed House Education 2/2; to House Finance.

SB 146 - replaces days per week requirement for early childhood education programs with instructional minutes per week and instructional minutes per year requirements; passed Senate 1/29; on first reading in House 2/17.

HB 2202 (similar to SB 321) -  relates to a more equitable disbursement of funds to county boards to lessen budgetary impact of serving high cost/high acuity special needs students; eliminates requirement to annual review of rules, policies and standards and federal law and report to legislative oversight commission; passed House Education 2/9; to House Finance.

SB 373 – changes RESA “regional councils” to “boards of directors” to be appointed by county boards of education in each agency area consisting of representatives of county boards and county superintendents from within that area for the purpose of governing the regional education service agency; the state board may provide for nonvoting membership on the board of directors of representatives from other agencies and institutions who have interest or expertise in the development or implementation of regional education programs; passed Senate Education 2/8; to Senate Finance.

SB 369 - reduces legislative education reporting requirements; passed Senate 2/3; on first reading in House 2/17.

For further information call 1-877-565-3447 or to read the contents of a bill log one at www.legis.state.wv.us , click on “bill status” and provide the bill number or contact

  • Ernest and Alma Page
  • 10587 Charleston Road
  • Red House, WV 25168
  • (304)586-3451
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or

  • Elizabeth Mow
  • One Bell Tower Drive
  • Watervliet, NY  12189
  • (518)713-4992
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.