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House Speaker calls for public hearing on controversial education bill

Education

The West Virginia House Speaker called for a public hearing to get all sides of the debate as the Education Committee was on day-two of amending Senate Bill 451.

It has already cut controversial paycheck protection plans, education savings accounts will now be for special needs students only and a clause that could have rendered the entire bill unconstitutional still remains out.

“They have carved it up that’s for sure. Major changes,” said Senator Steven Baldwin (D-Greenbrier). “You know, it makes me wonder what the Senate majority will think of that if it comes back to us in that form. From  what I hear, the folks in the House are not yet satisfied with what it is. I’d imagine you’ll see more changes.” 

Despite what has been removed in committee so far, there is support for some of the other previsions in the Education Bill.

“I think the greater flexibility that’s given to the counties in the bill is beneficial. I also like some of the things that they’ve done with the teachers, the tax credits and such. I think those are good things,” said Delegate Jeff Pack (R-Raleigh).

Charter Schools remain in the bill but are capped at just six. Even though charter schools are in 44 states, some parents are not convinced.

“I don’t find this to be innovative,” said Cabell County parent Jill Lafear. “Innovation is not repeating what other people are doing. It’s coming up with something new.” 

The Education Chairman said all ideas will get a fair look.

“At this point were asking questions of the members of the audience, different policy experts from different organizations, departments, and agencies within the state,” Chairman of the Education Committee, Delegate Danny Hamick (R-Harrison).

Any changes to the education bill will be sent back to the Senate for an up or down vote.

The House Speaker wants to get as much input on the education bill as possible, so he’s called for a public hearing at 8:00 a.m. Monday in the House Chamber. 

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