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UPDATE: Public hearings on comprehensive education reform set for Monday

(WVVA) Twp public hearings will be held on the comprehensive education reform bill recently passed by the West Virginia Senate.

“A public hearing will allow our citizens, and all those affected by this bill, the opportunity to have their voices heard,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R, Clay County).

The hearings will take place on Monday, February 11 at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the House Chamber at the capitol.

Senate Bill 451 has been widely criticized by teachers and service personnel unions; questioning why the issues are not being handled separately instead of in one comprehensive plan. The legislation would give state educators a five percent pay raise, permit teachers to bank personal days for retirement and create a bonus program for teachers with good attendance. It would allow for the creation of charter schools and give counties the option to pay teachers more for fields that are in high demand. The measure would also give county school boards the ability to increase property tax levy rates to the maximum under state law.

It passed the GOP-controlled senate by a vote of 18-16.

Gov. Jim Justice previously said he would veto the bill if it makes its way to his desk. However, a simple majority vote by lawmakers in both houses can override a veto.

Read WV House Speaker Roger Hanshaw’s full media release below:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, today requested a public hearing on Senate Bill 451, the comprehensive education reform bill.

The hearings will take place Monday, Feb. 11, at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the House Chamber at the state Capitol.

“We said from the start of our deliberations that we would accept input from all sides in this process, and that includes hearing from our teachers, students, parents and administrators,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “A public hearing will allow our citizens, and all those affected by this bill, the opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Speaker Hanshaw sent a letter this morning to Education Committee Chairman Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, and Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley – who lead the two committees to which the bill has been referred – formally requesting the hearing. House Rule 84 allows any member to request a public hearing on a bill that is placed on a committee agenda.

“While our Education and Finance committees hear from experts on questions related to this bill, this hearing will allow those on the front lines of our education system to weigh in,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “We want to make our education system the best it can be for all involved, and this hearing will provide valuable input on this process.”

As part of House Rule 84, a public hearing cannot be scheduled sooner than two days after the hearing time and place has been announced on the House floor.

Paul Hess

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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