Legislative Wrap Up (March 12, 2018)
A total of 20 education-related bills completed the process during the 2018 Legislative Session (7 Senate 13 House). A complete list of completed education legislation is available in this Bill Tracking sheet. (*This list represents the bills that The Education Alliance has been tracking throughout the session. If there are additional bills you wish to include, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
S.B 267 - increases the annual salaries of members of the West Virginia State Police, public school teachers and school service personnel. This bill, commonly referred to as “the teacher pay raise bill,” followed 9 days of statewide teacher strike. Both houses of the Legislature voted unanimously (with one member absent) on Tuesday, March 6th to accept the conference committee report and pass the bill. The conference committee report provided a 5% pay raise for all teachers and service personnel through budget cuts instead of through using the Governor’s updated revenue projections. Additionally, in separate legislation, both chambers agreed to include a 5% pay raise for all public employees via the budget bill. The Governor signed H.B. 4145 the same day it was passed in an effort to reopen all schools immediately. Ongoing related issues:
- PEIA Task Force - convening to address long-term solutions regarding insurance costs
- Teacher Advocacy - long-term impacts of the strike are still to be determined
H.B. 4006 -dismantles the office of Education and the Arts, eliminates the position of Cabinet Secretary, transfers the Center for Professional Development (CPD) to the West Virginia Department of Education, makes the Educational Broadcasting Authority and State Library Commission “separate independent agencies within the executive branch”, and moves the Division of Culture and History and the Division of Rehabilitation Services to the Department of Commerce. Much of the opposition surrounding the bill related to concerns over its impact on the future of programs like Energy Express (a summer feeding and literacy program for children), the Governor’s Schools (“residential summer sessions for academically and/or artistically talented students”), and Imagination Library (gives children free books) that were not specifically addressed within the legislation. The bill has gone to the Governor for signature or veto.
H.B. 4402: relating to the prevention of sexual abuse of children and S.B. 465: relating to mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect. Both of these bills were recommendations of the WV State Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children. H.B. 4402 would prevent child sexual abuse by providing age appropriate body safety education for students K-12 and providing training to all public school employees. S.B. 465 clarifies mandatory reporting requirements to report suspected child abuse or neglect, including child sexual abuse, immediately, and clarifies that notifying a person in charge, supervisor, or superior does not exempt one from their mandate to report. The Governor has signed H.B. 4402 and is expected to sign S.B. 465.
H.B. 4619: relating to supporting implementation of comprehensive systems for teacher and leader induction and professional growth. This bill would direct 20% of the growth in local share to be used to support the implementation of comprehensive systems for teacher and leader induction and professional growth. “Local share” (the amount of revenue a county public school system can raise through its regular property tax levy rates) increases due to increased property values. The state school aid funding formula generally automatically reduces the amount of state education funding granted to a county when the local share increases. Proponents of the bill state that the bill would annually capture a fifth of that state funding that would otherwise be reduced (in instances of increased local share) and “reallocate” that toward the “teacher and leader induction and professional growth.” The bill has been signed by the Governor.