April 9, 2021
A key component of the Education Alliance’s mission is to foster dialogue between leaders and stakeholders on public education issues. The Education Alliance believes that public education is strongest when input from all stakeholders is valued and partners feel welcomed into the process. Our students and our state deserve an active and engaged public.
Tomorrow closes out the 2021 West Virginia Legislative session. Over the past week we’ve seen a wide array of education-related bills pass the both chambers and move to the Governor’s desk for signature. We will post the final bill tracking sheet next week after the session concludes.
Bills of Note in the House
- HJR 1 Education Accountability Amendment – This joint resolution would call for voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would require that rules promulgated by the West Virginia Board of Education be approved by the West Virginia Legislature similar to rules promulgated by other agencies of state government. This bill was laid over on 3rd reading in the Senate with right to amend.
- HB 2529 Prohibiting West Virginia institutions of higher education from discriminating against graduates of private, nonpublic or home schools by requiring them to submit to alternative testing – This bill has completed legislation and is sent to the Governor for signature.
- HB 2852 Relating to distribution of the allowance for increased enrollment -- This bill is related to the distribution of the allowance for increased enrollment and removing the mandated distribution of 60 percent of allowance based on projected increased enrollment. This bill has completed legislation and is sent to the Governor for Signature.
- HB 2267 Establishing an optional bus operator in residence program for school districts – This bill authorizes recruitment and training programs for prospective bus operators. This bill has completed legislation and is now sent to the Governor for signature.
- HB 2529 Prohibiting West Virginia institutions of higher education from discriminating against graduates of private, nonpublic or home schools by requiring them to submit to alternative testing – This bill prohibits the submission to alternative testing as a precondition for acceptance into the institution of higher education; and prohibiting institutions of higher education from rejecting a person with appropriate diploma or credentialing. This bill has completed legislation and will be sent to the Governor for signature.
- HB 2785 Relating to public school enrollment for students from out of state – This bill provides for a multitude of changes for students transferring from other states, including: requiring enrollment in same grade level as state or program from which the student transferred, and providing an option to parent to apply for the Hope Scholarship upon transfer. This bill has completed legislation and will be sent to the Governor for signature.
- HB 2791 Relating to enrollment and costs of homeschooled or private school students at vocational schools – This bill requires that the student applicant meet equivalent qualifications required of public school applicants and disclose any disciplinary or absentee issues in a public or private school. Also, that the county annual notify homeschoolers of the vocational education classes available. This bill has completed legislation and will be sent to the Governor for signature.
- HB 2906 Relating to the School Building Authority's allocation of money – This bill provides that the School Building Authority may set aside up to 10% of their annual budget for Major projects and improvements to vocational school programs. This bill has completed legislation and will be sent to the Governor for signature.
- HB 3293 Relating to single-sex participation in interscholastic athletic events –Requiring school districts to confirm the sex of pupil at time of birth for participation in single-sex sporting events conducted West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission. This bill passed the Senate and is waiting for House to concur.
Bills of Note in the Senate
- SB636 Requiring certain history and civics courses be taught in schools – This bill relates to imposing additional requirements for the course required for all public, private, parochial, and denominational schools in the history of the State of West Virginia, the history of the U.S., in civics, in the Constitution of the U.S. and in the government of WV, and including the creation of a “Celebrate Freedom Week” in schools. The Committee Substitute saw significant changes from its previously introduced version. This bill passed the House and was returned to the Senate for Concurrence. It is expected to complete legislation.
- SB 356 Allowing for written part of drivers' exam given in high school drivers' education course – This bill has completed legislation and was signed by the Governor.
- SB 431 Relating to school attendance notification requirements to DMV. This bill allows County Boards of education to provide electronic notice of school attendance and progress to the DMV, instead of requiring each student to provide a paper notice. This bill competed legislation and was signed into law.
- SB 435 Requiring county superintendents to authorize certain school principals or administrators at nonpublic schools to issue work permits for enrolled students – Completed legislation and passed both Chambers
- SB 14 Providing for additional options for alternative certification for teachers –This bill creates a third set of conditions for individuals who have a bachelor's degree to receive a teaching certificate. This bill completed legislation and was signed into Law.
- SB 375 Relating to county boards of education policies for open enrollment – The bill strengthens open enrollment (for students outside of county school zones) by limiting the reasons that county boards can deny applications. This bill has completed Legislation and now goes to the Governor for signature.
- SB 610 Providing tuition and fee waivers at state higher education institutions for volunteers who have completed service in AmeriCorps programs in WV – Is on 2nd Reading in the House
- SB 651 Allowing county boards of education to publish financial statements on websites – This bill provides for publishing statements on county board of education websites rather than as a Class 1-0 legal advertisement. This bill has completed legislation and goes to the Governor for signature.
- SB 680 Allowing State Superintendent of Schools define classroom teachers certified in special education – This bill will state a minimum salary for teachers with zero years’ experience and a A.B. degree. This bill has completed legislation and goes to the Governor for signature.
The information will be updated weekly throughout the 2021 Legislative Session.
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