CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia Senate has passed a sweeping education bill that would allow the state’s first charter schools.
The Republican-controlled chamber approved the proposal Monday evening by an 18 to 16 vote.
A similar Senate bill had sparked massive teacher protests at the state Capitol.
It now goes to Governor Jim Justice, who supports the measure. Governor Justice tweeted shortly after the legislation was passed saying:
“I applaud theGovernor Jim Justice
@wvsenate for passing the education bill tonight. This is the correct resolution that aids our teachers, students, and all those in the education community and I look forward to signing it.”
The wide-ranging proposal would allow for a staggered implementation of charter schools, limiting the state to three charters until 2023, then letting three more go up every three years after that. It also contains a pay raise for teachers.
The House passed the bill last week.
Teacher unions and Democrats have opposed the charter school effort, saying it’s a move driven by outside interests that will steer money away from public schools.
Republicans have pointed to poor test scores as reason to change the education system.