The West Virginia Senate will convene at 5 p.m. Monday to take up an omnibus education bill that passed the House of Delegates earlier this week.
If passed, the bill would provide for a roughly 5 percent pay raise for teachers and other school personnel; enable the authorization of up to three public charter schools until 2023, and more in subsequent years; allow students to attend schools in counties they don’t live in; increase funding for school workers and psychologists; increase school funding generally; and a number of other provisions.
After a marathon public hearing, amendment and deliberation session Wednesday that lasted from 8 a.m. until after 11 p.m., the bill passed the House, 51-47, with six Republicans joining all 41 House Democrats in voting against the bill.
House Republicans who supported the bill noted that charter schools can only be authorized with permission of the counties’ boards of education. If they are authorized, they will provide for more choice for parents in their children’s education. Additionally, they said, the bill provides for more student support services, increased public school funding and a teacher pay raise.
The bill’s critics noted public opposition to the bill demonstrated at hearings, in a statewide teacher and school service personnel strike in connection to a similar bill during the regular legislative session, and to different aspects of the bill shared during the public sessions compiled into a report by the West Virginia Department of Education.
They also said charter schools would subvert funding from traditional public schools.
Should the Senate pass the bill, it would go to Justice for signature or veto.