First Report of the 83rd Legislative Session

West Virginia Professional Educators
1st Legislative Report
2nd Session of the 83rd Legislature
January16, 2018

          In his State of the State address on January 10th Governor Justice proposed a one percent increase in pay for all state workers and an average of one percent for teachers over the next three years which would amount to a five percent increase.  For the first time in several years instead of a deficit, the Governor anticipates a surplus.  In additional to salary increases the Governor proposed major increases in appropriations for the state Development Office and the Division of Tourism believing that such appropriations will further boost the economy. Governor Justice indicated that higher taxes would not be necessary to fill the goals outlined in his address.

            In addition to these proposals other goals affecting education sought by the Governor include an opportunity for high school students to get an associate degree in a trade and possibly adding another year to achieve additional certification.  The Governor would like to make West Virginia's community and technical colleges free.

            Some legislators have pronounced skepticism that all the goals sought by the Governor can be achieved without either increasing taxes or cutting spending.

            WVPE's legislative representative, Ben Beakes, informs us that “the House of Delegates will consider a bill to create Education Savings Accounts.  At its core, an ESA is where parents are given a portion of the state dollars used for education to spend on certain education related expenses.  The difference between an ESA and voucher is that ESAs become the parents’ money whereas vouchers are simply a credit that is still controlled by the state.  WV will be focused on a very limited and restricted version of ESAs – in particular for special education students’ needs... [and] will be restricted to purchases related to the services special education students may need...[and that the] proposal will only apply to the state portion of the funding per student, not the local share.”

            Following is a list of proposed bills which WVPE is following.

Proposed Legislation of Special Interest

SB 267 - increases annual salaries of members of the West Virginia State Police,  public school teachers, and school service personnel; to Government Organization then Finance.

HB 2462 – clarifies a minimum salary scale for personnel employed by the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind, and authorizes the State Board to establish salary schedules for additional compensation for certain teachers in these schools; to House Education then Finance.                

Proposed Legislation Affecting Students

SB 6 -   establishes Education Savings Accounts for WV students; to Senate Education then Finance.

HB 4008 - creates an Educational Savings Account Program for students with disabilities and provides for its administration (see description above); to House Education then Finance.

SB 128 - the purpose of this bill is to provide a tax credit for education expenses incurred relative to the education of a child under the age of twenty-one for expenses incurred for the purchase of supplementary education materials or professional development costs incurred by a classroom  teacher employed by a public or private school and to enact an Educational Savings Account Program; to Senate Education then Finance.

SB 284 - increases access to career education and workforce training; establishes Advanced Career Education (ACE) programs; requires community and technical colleges establish partnerships with career technical education centers, county boards of education, or both that provide for ACE programs; authorizes the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education to award WV Invests Grants under certain conditions; establishes the WV Invests Fund; to Senate Education then Finance.

SB 9 –   directs certain school funding to assist county boards with exceptional students with special needs; to Senate Education then Finance.

SB 29 – requires school counselores to advise graduating students on availability of student aid and requires all graduating high school students to apply for student aid; to Senate Education.

SB 52 -  sets maximum licensed school psychologist-pupil ratio at 1,500 pupils for each psychologist; to Senate Education.

HB 2213 – provides that five unexcused occasions on which a student is tardy for school may equal one unexcused absence; to House Education then Judiciary.

Proposed Legislation Affecting Curriculum

SB 252 - requires all schools provide an elective course on Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament of the Bible, or New Testament of the Bible; to Senate Education.

Proposed Legislation Affecting Teachers

SB 8 –   permits county boards of education to base its employment decisions, transfers, reassignments, reductions in number of professional personnel, reductions in classroom teaching positions and reductions in the workforce on an individual’s qualifications instead of seniority; to Senate Education.

HB 2871 – eliminates the mandatory 80% of employer, 20% employee cost share on PEIA active employee premiums and instead sets 80% as the maximum employer share and 20% as the minimum employee share; to House Banking and Insurane then Finance.

SB 19 – allows teachers to post on-line a required calendar of scheduled activities in their classes that can be viewed by the parents of their students; to Senate Education.

HB 2583 - protects employee’s wages from being withheld or diverted for political activities without the express, written authorization of the employee; makes clear that it is unlawful for any person to coerce or intimidate any employee into making a political contribution or engaging in political activities; makes it an unfair labor practice for any labor organization to use agency shop fees paid for by nonmembers for contributions or expenditures to influence an election without the authorization of the individual; to House Judiciary.

Proposed Legislation Affecting Retired Teachers

HB 3095 – allows retired teachers to be employed by a higher education institution, the Higher Education Policy Commission or the Council for Community and Technical College  Education without forfeiting their retirement; to House Education.

HB 2817 – reduces the unfunded liability in the teachers retirment system over a 30 year period; to House Finance.

Proposed Legislation Affecting Teachers and Parents

SB 89 -   creates income tax credits against personal income tax for educational expenses incurred by parents for a child under twenty-one years of age and for expenses incurred by teachers for the purchase of supplementary educational materials or professional development costs; to Senate Education then Finance.

Proposed Legislation Affecting Administration

SB 124 - provides authorization and oversight of public charter schools; creates a statewide Public Charter School Oversight and Authorizer Board to develop policy, provide training, and perform oversight, administrative and reporting functions, including reporting directly to the State Board; to Senate Education then Finance.

 

Proposed Legislation Affecting Administration (cont.)

HB 2572 – provides for authorization and oversight of public charter schools; to House Education.

HB 4042 – redefines “school zone” to facilitate placement of “school zone” signs; to House Education then Finance.

School Financing

HB 2436 – suspends the implementation of the school aid formula for school district budgeting until the year 2021; requires that all school systems be funded at the level established by the 2016-2017 budget during this period; and provides that the Legislature develop a new funding formula to be implemented for the budget year 2021-2022; to House Education then Finance.

HB 2809 – provides an adjustment to the allocated state aid share to any county on account of, and in the amount of, payments or contributions in lieu of property tax distributed from the sheriff to the county board of education as a result of payment in lieu of tax agreements first entered into on or after July 1, 2016; to House Education then Finance.

State Board of Education

HB 2194 – establishes a maximum ratio of the number of employees of the West Virginia Department of Education to the number of students enrolled in the state after June 30,2019 at not greater than one employee to two thousand students; to House Education then Finance.

County Boards of Education

HB 3089 – moves to the county board of education the process for review and adoption of instructional resources required to be used in the schools under the jurisdiction of the county board; to House Eucation.

SB 28 – provides that a county board of education may post future vacancies for professional personnel; job applications may be submitted to the board, the principal and the superintendent; the board may employ professional personnel after due consideration of allapplicants and shall include in its consideration any nomination by the principal or a recommendation timely submitted to the board; to Senate Education then Finance.

Proposed Legislation Affecting School Improvement

HB 2524 –purpose of this lengthy bill is to improve the focus on school-level continuous improvement processes led by the principal; includes instructional leadership among the duties of principals and assistants and requires instruction in their certification requirements and what this instruction must include; professional development is to focus on the needs identified by schools in their strategic planning processes led by the principal; the Center for Professional Development, Principal’s Academy, and Department and Secretary of Education and the Arts are eliminated along with related programs that are no longer operational, and the various remaining divisions in the Department of Education and the Arts are transferred to other departments except for the Educational Broadcasting Authority which will become an independent agency within the Executive branch; to House Education then Finance.

HB 3061 – encourages mastery-based education through the Innovation In Schools program; to House Education.

HB 4006 –purpose is to improve the focus on school-level continuous improvement processes led by the principal; includes instructional leadership among the duties and responsibilities of principals and assistants and requires instruction in their certification requirements and what that instruction must include; school systems are given the flexibility to establish their own systems of support and supervision of beginning principals and the current state mandated programs and processes are eliminated; revises processes through which professional development is delivered; to House Education then Finance.

 

Proposed Legislation Affecting Home Schooling

SB 130 – creates Tim Tebow Act; 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, who do not attend a school that is a member of the West Virginia Secondary School ActivitiesCommission to participate in extracurricular activities that are under the authority of the commission; to Senate Education then Finance.

HB 2117 – removes the requirement that home schooled students have to acquire a general equivalency degree (GED) in order to be eligible to receive a PROMISE scholarship; to House Education then Finance.

HB 2429 - provides a two-tiered personal income tax credit to parents or legal guardians who provide home or private, primary or secondary education for their children at a rate per child of $1,000 for home schooling and $2,000 for private schooling; to House Education then Finance.

For further information call 1-877-565-3447

or to read the contents of a bill

 log on at www.legis.state.wv.us , click on “bill status”

and provide the bill number

or contact

                        Ernest & AlmaPage, Jr.                                                                   Elizabeth Mow

                        Executive Directors                                                                           One Bell Tower Drive

                        10587 Charleston Road                                                                    Watervliet, NY 12189

                        Red House, WV 25168                                                                      (518) 713-4992

                        (304) 586-3451/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                                      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.