A key component of the Education Alliance’s mission is to foster dialogue between policy makers and stakeholders on the issues effecting public education. 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.

To support this goal throughout the 2024 Legislative Session, The Education Alliance will be publicly sharing our weekly legislative updates including Bill Tracking and Education Committee updates.  The information will be updated each Friday throughout the Legislative Session.  As the session progresses, the tracking will shift to only tracking specific bills that are moving through the legislative process and are of particular interest to the Alliance and the business community. 

If you note the absence of a bill that should be tracked, please email [email protected].

Week 8 (Feb 24-March 1)

“Crossover Day” was this week, on Wednesday, February 28, the 50th day of the session, where all House bills must clear the House and Senate bills must clear the Senate—except for the budget bill. After Wednesday, there are approximately 60 remaining bills we are tracking on our Bill Tracking Sheet. 

Regarding the budget, on Thursday, lawmakers discussed the potential for a special session after learning of a potential federal “clawback” of $465M COVID education funds. Read More here.

 

House Considers Senate Education Bills

  • SB 468 - Requiring course in public schools on human development. The bill makes the showing of a video on human development mandatory in health for 8th grade with a refresher course in the 10th grade.  The bill would create the “Baby Olivia Act,” which includes the video “Meet Baby Olivia,” produced by Live Action. The Committee substitute passed and was sent to the Senate floor, where it is on the second reading. To read more, click here.
  • SB 813 - Allowing students to participate in non-school competitive activities (also known as “Travel Ball” bill) the purpose of this bill is to allow student-athletes to participate in competitive events and activities while playing for their school. While participation in school sponsored extracurricular sports is a voluntary opportunity, no student-athlete should be deprived of additional opportunities to advance or showcase their skills purely because they are playing for a school sports team. The bill was adopted by the Senate 24 to 9 and sent to the House. Read more here.
  • SB 162 - Establishing Summer Feeding for All Program - This bill would address food insecurities; empower county school boards to develop initiatives and programs for feeding students in need during summer and other non-school time periods; providing county board reporting requirements to the Office of Child Nutrition; and directing the Office of Child Nutrition to collect and distribute information regarding available food resources. This bill passed the Senate and was introduced in House Education with recommendation due pass but first to House Finance.
  • SB 861 Increasing support and professional development for educators expanding factors used to determine how funds for supporting county-level implementation of the comprehensive systems for teacher and leader induction and professional growth are allocated to counties; authorizing retention of additional funding for 2024 – 2025 school year by Department of Education to distribute to the county boards for contracting with organizations that facilitate the school districts’ participation in regional professional learning cadres, or teacher leadership networks to support math and science improvement; requiring certain amount of funds be retained beginning with 2025 – 2026 school year to distribute to the county boards for the purpose of expanding the school districts’ ability to contract with organizations that facilitate the school districts’ participation in regional professional learning cadres, or teacher leadership networks. The bill was adopted by the Senate and sent to the House.
  • SB 292 - Hunger-Free Campus Act - This bill provides qualifications for a campus to be designated as hunger-free campus; requiring, subject to the availability of funding, Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission to allocate grant funding to each institution designated as a hunger-free campus; and requiring a report to the Governor and Legislature no later than two years after the establishment of the program. This bill passed the Senate and was introduced in House Education with recommendation due pass and is on the 1st reading of the Special Calendar. To read more, click here.
  • SB 529 - Including Salem University in PROMISE Scholarship program - This bill aims to add Salem University as an “Eligible institution” to offer the scholarship if it meets certain conditions. This bill passed the Senate and was introduced in the House and is on the 2nd reading of the Special Calendar.
  • SB 727 - Revising process for county board of education to hire support staff - The amended bill changes how county boards of education hire aides and early childhood classroom assistant teachers. This bill passed the Senate and was introduced in the House and resides in House Education Committee.

 

Other Bills Considered by House Education

SB 146 - Creating adult education taskforce - This bill requires the State Superintendent of Schools to create a task force to consider options for direct funding of adult education learning centers and submit a report of recommendations to the Legislature. 

SB 189 - Providing for substantial deference to state school superintendent’s interpretations of school laws - This bill requires entities and parties to uphold and apply the Superintendent of Schools’ interpretation of school law and State Board of Education rules. 

SB 466 - Requiring State Board of Education develop Safety While Accessing Technology education program - The West Virginia Board of Education is tasked with developing the Safety While Accessing Technology (SWAT) education program. The program will cover specific topics and provide age-appropriate instructional materials for county boards to implement in elementary and secondary schools. The program will be implemented for the 2025-2026 school year and must be based on certain concepts. 

SB 614 - Relating to elementary behavior intervention and safety - This amended bill focuses on elementary behavior intervention and safety. It ensures that it does not conflict with specific federal laws and outlines requirements for kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers when addressing violent, threatening, or intimidating behavior from students. The bill emphasizes creating a safe learning environment for all students while addressing disruptive behavior.

SB 487 - Requiring periodic review of professional development for teachers and education staff - This bill addresses teacher preparation programs; program approval and standards; and the authority to issue teaching certificates.

Senate Considers House Education Bills

  • HB 5105 - To eliminate the vaccine requirements for public virtual schools. This bill aims to eliminate the vaccine requirements for students of public virtual schools, private schools, and parochial schools unless the student participates in sanctioned athletic events. This bill passed the House and was communicated to the Senate. Read more click here
  • HB 4814 - Relating to extending the reporting and sunset dates of the State Advisory Council on Postsecondary Attainment Goals  - The bill aims to ensure that students have access to relevant industry-demanded knowledge, skills, and credentials to prepare them for college, careers, and life. It promotes collaboration between K-12 education leaders, employers, industry leaders, state agencies, Higher Education Policy Commission, and the Council for Community and Technical College Education to identify valuable postsecondary credentials and develop a plan to help West Virginia achieve its goal of having 60% of residents aged 25-64 hold a degree, certificate, or other valuable credential by 2030, thus fostering economic growth. This bill passed the House and was introduced in the Senate.  It was recommended due pass and it currently is in its 3rd reading. 
  • HB 4838 - Require county board of education to provide long-term substitute teachers, upon hiring, with certain information - The purpose of this bill is to require county boards of education to inform persons, who are employed as a long-term substitute teacher, about completing IEP and 504 plans. This bill passed the House, was communicated to the Senate. It was recommended due pass in Senate Education and is on the 3rd reading.
  • HB 4883 - Relating to increasing annual salaries of certain employees of the state. This bill’s purpose is to increase annual salaries of public school teachers and school service personnel; and providing an effective date for these increases. The bill passed the House and was introduced to Senate. To read more click here.
  • HB 4951 - To facilitate the interstate practice of School Psychology in educational or school settings - The purpose of this bill is to enact the Interstate Compact for School Psychologists to improve the availability of School Psychological Services to the public. This Compact is intended to establish a pathway to allow School Psychologists to obtain equivalent licenses to provide School Psychological Services in any Member State. This Compact shall enable the Member States to ensure safe and effective School Psychological Services are available and delivered by appropriately qualified professionals in their educational settings. This bill passed the House, was communicated to the Senate. It passed out of Senate Education and currently resides in Senate Judiciary.
  • HB 5650 - Allow suspended school personnel to enter school property functions open to the public. This bill passed the House and was introduced in the Senate.  It currently sits in Senate Education.
  • HB 4830 - To address the professional development of teachers. This bill passed the House on January 31st, and was introduced to the Senate, where it sits in Senate Education.
  • HB 4986 - Relating to computer science and cybersecurity instruction for adult learners. This bill passed the House on February 13 and was introduced to the Senate where it sits in Senate Education.

Week 7 (Feb 19-23)

Monday, February 19, was the 41st day of the session and the last day to introduce bills in the Senate. This coming Sunday, February 25, is the 47th day of the session when bills are due out of committees in the house of origin. For a complete list of education-related bills, click here.

House Education Bills

HB 5162 - Establish a program to promote creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs. The purpose of the bill is to create the "Youth Apprenticeship Program," which shall allow any students who are in eleventh or twelfth grades, or are sixteen years or older, the opportunity to enroll in apprenticeship programs offered at public schools and the ability to gain secondary credits from said programs. The bill passed out of committee and is on 2nd reading on Special Calendar in the House.

HB 5180 - Removing requirements to submit certain evidence on behalf of home schooled children. This bill would make a child exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement if the requirements relating to instruction in a private, parochial, or other approved school, are met. The instruction shall be in a school approved by the county board and for a time equal to the instructional term set forth in code. The bill passed out of committee is on 2nd reading on Special Calendar in the House. To read more, click here.

HB 5540 - Requires fentanyl prevention and awareness education in middle schools and high schools (Lakens Law). Among its provisions, the bill would require students to be trained in fentanyl awareness, prevention, abuse, and addiction and the use of naloxone and other antagonists to treat overdoses. The House voted 95 to zero to pass the bill. It is like Senate Bill 750 which passed Senate Education and was sent to full Senate.

Other House bills:

HB 4829 - Relating employment of service personnel and removing the requirement for a high school diploma or general education development certificate. The bill is First Reading on Special Calendar in the House.

HB 4902 - To provide a raise for special education aides, as well as a raise for self-contained special education teachers. The bill passed out of the Education Committee with amendment and was sent to Finance.

HB 5425 - Granting a waiver to fill certain professional educator positions of employments when no applicants have six or more years of experience. The bill passed out of the Education Committee and is on 1st reading, Special Calendar.

Senate Education Bills

SB 813 - Allowing students to participate in non-school competitive activities The purpose of this bill is to allow student-athletes to participate in competitive events and activities while playing for their school. While participation in school sponsored extracurricular sports is a voluntary opportunity, no student-athlete should be deprived of additional opportunities to advance or showcase their skills purely because they are playing for a school sports team. The bill passed out of Senate Education on Tuesday. Read more here.

SB 172 - Revising requirements of local school improvement councils. This bill relates to local school improvement councils membership requirements; requiring minutes be taken at every council meeting; revising requirements pertaining to annual council meeting regarding the school's academic performance; requiring training on the role and governance of the councils and the production of a document on parent and community leader roles in the councils; and allowing public charter schools to abide by all or some of the local school improvement council requirements. This bill pass the Senate and is on 2nd reading on the Special Calendar in the House.

SB 806 - Removing certain required reports to Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability. The purpose of this bill is to remove several required submissions to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA); and remove a requirement for LOCEA to review the progress and implementation of the comprehensive systems of support for teacher and leader induction and professional growth. The bill passed the Committee with immediate consideration.  It is on the 2nd reading in the Senate.

SB 750 - Establishing Laken's Law. This bill requires each school district to annually provide age-appropriate, research-based instruction related to the dangers posed by the drug fentanyl to students in grades six through 12; encouraging school districts to provide the instruction during Red Ribbon Week; specifying topics that the instruction is to include; specifying who may provide the instruction; and requiring instruction to begin in the 2024-2025 school year. The bill was introduced in Committee and a substitute reported and referred to Rules.

SB 761 - Providing greater access to unused buildings for public charter schools. This bill would allow unused buildings for public charter schools; requiring the county board or public entity to allow the charter school sufficient time to establish the school; providing that the facility is not required to hold the building if the charter school application is denied; and allowing the authorizer of the charter school to release the building in the event the school is unable to open. This bill passed the Committee with substitute and was given immediate consideration.  It is on the 2nd reading in the Senate.

SB 860 - Creating alternative high-risk population public charter schools. This bill aims to create alternative high-risk population public charter schools and permit an enrollment count of three times a year for funding. The bill was introduced in the Senate and resides in School Choice.

Week 6 (February 10-16)

This was a busy week, with 73 new bills introduced today. Tuesday marked the last day to introduce bills in the House and Monday (19th) is the last day to introduce bills in the Senate.  For a full list of education-related bills, please see our Bill Tracking sheet.

House Education Bills

  • HB 5540 - Requires fentanyl prevention and awareness education in middle schools and high schools (Lakens Law). Among its provisions, the bill would require students to be trained in the use of Narcan to save lives and in the danger of fentanyl, heroin and opioids. State School Superintendent Michele Blatt addressed concerns about teaching middle school students how to administer Narcan. She noted that drug prevention has been a focus for many years, and while the instruction would be more at the high school level, even middle school students may need to understand life-saving measures and the potential harms. The bill passed House Education and is on 1st reading in the House Special Calendar. Read more news here.
  • HB 4299 - Authorizes teachers in elementary or secondary schools to carry concealed firearms and be designated as school protection officers (SPO). Under the bill, those who could seek authorization as school protection officers would include teachers, administrators and support personnel in elementary or secondary schools. They could carry concealed firearms, stun guns or Tasers. To get the designation as an SPO, a person would have to show proof of having a valid concealed carry permit and a certificate of completion of a training program for SPOs. That training would include mitigation techniques, neutralization of potential threats and active shooters, de-escalation techniques, and crisis intervention among other things. The bill passed House Judiciary and is on 1st reading in the House Special Calendar.  Read more news here.
  • HB. 4709, Relating to vocational and technical education programs. The purpose of this bill is to provide information to high school students regarding career and technical educational opportunities during and after high school, to create a career and technical education for middle school students, and to codify the Governor's Workforce Credential. This bill passed with amendment and was sent to House Finance.
  • HB. 5514, Enhancing training requirements for county boards of education members. The purpose of this bill is enhance training requirements for county boards of education members by increasing the number of hours required for training, authorizing the State Board to require members to attend additional training when beneficial, modifying training topics, increasing the compensation rate for meeting attendance and decreasing the number of meetings members may be compensated to attend, prohibiting compensation to county board members who have not complied with all training requirements and including the chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees as ex officio members of the county board member standards training review committee. This bill passed with amendment and was sent to House Finance.

House Education also discussed:

  • HB 5405- Providing additional professional development and support to West Virginia educators through teacher and leader induction and professional growth.
  • HB 5553  To provide and change graduation requirements and change duties relating to academic content standards.
  • HB 5607 - Relating to public charter school’s application for funding

Senate Education

  • HB4860 - Providing that a general education teacher may not be responsible for accommodation logs. The purpose of this bill is to provide that the general education teacher in an integrated classroom for education of exceptional children not responsible for accommodation logs. The bill was previously hotly debated in the House and Thursday Senate Education changed the bill to re-introduce some documentation requirements for all teachers. The bill passed Senate Education and now heads to the full Senate. Read more here
  • SB727 - Revising process for county boards of education to hire support staff The purpose of this bill is to revise the process for county boards of education to hire aides, early childhood classroom assistant teachers, and secretaries.
  • SB515 - Prohibiting public schools from requiring students to participate in sexual orientation instruction. The purpose of this bill is to prohibit a public school student from being required to participate in instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity if a parent, custodian, or guardian of the student objects in writing; require each public school to afford the parent, custodian, or guardian of a child subject to instruction with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity advance written notification of such instruction and of their right to exempt the child from participation; prohibit a public school and the county board employees assigned to the school from knowingly giving false or misleading information to the parent, custodian, or guardian of a student regarding the student’s gender identity or intention to transition to a gender that is different than the sex listed on a student’s official birth certificate or certificate issued upon adoption if the certificate was issued at or near the time of the student’s birth; require a public school employee to report a student’s request for an accommodation that is intended to affirm the student’s gender identity from a person employed by the public school to an administrator employed by the county board and assigned to the school; and require the administrator to report the student’s request to the student’s parent, custodian, or guardian. This bill passed out of the Education Committee and was reported do pass but first to Judiciary.

Week 5 (February 5-9)

The 2024 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature is now more than halfway over. This year's 60-day will end at midnight on March 11. Next week will be the last day to introduce bills in the House on February 13 and the Senate on February 19. The Education Alliance is now tracking over 225 education-related bills.

House Education

HB 4919 - Relating to the Promise Scholarship. The purpose of this bill is to permit a student to reapply for the Promise Scholarship on an annual basis if that student falls out of eligibility during the academic year in college. The bill passed in House Education and heads to House Finance.

HB 4951 - To facilitate the interstate practice of School Psychology in educational or school settings. This bill aims to improve the availability of School Psychological Services to the public by establishing a pathway to allow School Psychologists to obtain equivalent licenses in any Member State to ensure that safe and effective School Psychological Services are available and delivered by appropriately qualified professionals in their educational settings. The bill was introduced in the House.  House Education introduced a substitute, do pass and is on 1st reading on Special Calendar.

HB 4986 - Relating to computer science and cybersecurity instruction for adult learners. The bill was introduced in the House.  House Education made a substitute, do pass and is on 1st reading on Special Calendar.

HB 5262 - Relating generally to teacher’s bill of rights. This legislation establishes a Teacher's Bill of Rights, outlining counselor duties, data provision, special education student ratios, compensation for exceeding ratios, and supplemental duty provisions. It prohibits sanctions in specific cases and offers resources like liability insurance for classroom teachers, as well as teacher quality assistance. Additionally, it clarifies the process for student removal. The bill was introduced in the House.  House Education made a substitute, do pass and is on 1st reading on Special Calendar.

HB 5435 - Establishing the registered apprenticeship to associate of applied science program to be administered by the Council for Community and Technical College Education. This bill was introduced in the House, House Education do pass with amendment but first to House Finance.

 

Senate Education

SB 466 - Requiring State Board of Education develop Safety While Accessing Technology education program. The Senate passed this bill on Monday that would require the development of a Safety While Accessing Technology (SWAT) education program in elementary and secondary schools. The bill would require schools to provide instruction on the risks associated with sharing sexually suggestive or sexually explicit materials, the legal and criminal consequences, and other long-term and unforeseen consequences associated with sharing the materials. The SWAT program is intended to show students the potential connection between sharing sexually suggestive or sexually explicit materials and the sharing of those materials by others, bullying, cyberbullying, extortion, and human trafficking. The legislation now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration. To read more, click here.

SB 614 - Specifying requirements for appropriate elementary behavior intervention and safety. This bill specifies requirements for appropriate elementary behavior intervention and safety. It would require students in kindergarten through sixth grade whose behavior in the classroom is violent, threatening or intimidating toward staff and fellow students and impedes the learning environment to be placed in a county behavioral intervention program. The Senate Education Committee recommended a committee substitute for passage, sending the bill to the full Senate. To read more, click here.

SB 568 - Creating multi-tiered system for school absenteeism. This bill aims to shift the focus from truancy to a multi-tiered system of support for all absences, excused and unexcused. It sets limits on parental excuses, mandates MTSS interventions, acknowledges neglect includes educational failure, refers to existing reporting requirements for school personnel, and allows discretion in referring truancy cases to diversion programs. The bill was introduced in the Senate and sent to Senate Education. To read more, click here.

SB 521 - Relating generally to payment of bus aides. This bill mandates that when a county board compensates bus operators for missed runs, special needs bus aides under extracurricular agreements must be assigned to schools with alternate duties and paid at their normal rate for those days.This bill was introduced in the Senate and sent to Senate Education.

Week 4 Legislative Updates (Jan. 27-Feb 2)

Week four of the legislative session saw an increased focus on education with a sea of blue and gold for “West Virginia University Day” on Tuesday, and a green wave for “Marshall University Day” on Thursday. The Education Alliance is tracking 200 education-related bills.  Several bills received substantial media attention and we’ve included links to those stories.

House Education

  • HB 4776 - Adding elementary schools into school disciplinary measures (as amended during the 2023 Regular Session). The bill provides guidance on when a teacher may remove a student in grades pre-k through 5 under certain circumstances. Exceptions may be made when a student's behavior is characteristic of his or her diagnosis and is addressed in that student's IEP plan or 504 plan. It passed the House and moved to the Senate. However, Senate leaders have expressed concern and are working on a Senate version of the bill.  To read more, click here.
  • HB 4814 - Extending the reporting and sunset dates of the State Advisory Council on Postsecondary Attainment Goals. The House Education Chair, Delegate Joe Ellington, is the lead sponsor. This college and career pathways bill aligns with the Education Alliance's priority to sustain a focus on workforce needs. The bill would extend the sunset date of the State Advisory Council on Postsecondary Attainment Goals to December 31, 2027. It passed the House and heads to the Senate. 
  • HB 4838 - Employment of substitute teachers; and employment of retired teachers as substitutes in areas of critical need and shortage. The purpose of this bill is to require county boards of education to inform persons, who are employed as a long-term substitute teachers, about completing IEP and 504 plans. The bill passed the House and was communicated to the Senate and resides in Senate Education. To read more, click here.
  • HB 4305 - Granting in-state resident status to economic development participants.  This allows for the children of company employees relocating in WV to receive in-state tuition at our colleges and universities.  The motion to report HB 4305 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance was adopted.
  • HB 4882 - Extending in-state tuition rates to all members and veterans of the National Guard, reserves, and armed forces as well as their spouses and dependents. The motion to report HB 4882 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass but first be referred to the committee on Finance was adopted.
  • HB 4945 - Specific changes in the Hope Scholarship Program. This bill including changes that the annual Hope Scholarship Program appropriation calculation will be based on the estimated number of participating students instead of the number of participating students in the prior year; and clarifying that providers may not assess increased or additional fees against Hope Scholarship students based on participation in the program. This bill was introduced in the House, with due pass sent to House Finance.
  • HB 5262 - Creation of a Teachers Bill of Rights. The bill defines the duties of counselors. The bill defines data to be provided. The bill defines the special education student to instructor ratio, a waiver process, and compensation given to a teacher when the ratio is exceeded. The bill provides for supplemental duty calendar provisions. The bill prohibits sanctions in certain instances. The bill provides resources, including liability insurance, for classroom teachers. The bill provides for teacher quality assistance. Finally, the bill clarifies the process for the removal of students. This bill was introduced in House Education.
  • HB 5289 - Implementation of Plasma Games in West Virginia public schools. The purpose of this bill is to establish a partnership between Workforce West Virginia through its Division of Workforce Development and the West Virginia Board of Education for the implementation of the Plasma Games teaching program in high schools and technical schools in the state, establishing an implementation plan and reporting. The bill was filed for introduction in House Education then Finance.  It currently resides in Education.

Senate Education

  • SB 466 - Development of safety while accessing technology education programs. During the Senate’s floor session, the Committee Substitute for SB 466, requiring state board of education develop SB 466Safety While Accessing Technology (SWAT) education program was on first reading and advances to second reading. This bill will require the WVDE to work with other agencies to development safety programs and instruction for elementary and secondary students regarding all forms of technology.
  • SB 507 - Repeal of WV EDGE. The dual enrollment bill from last year (HB 2005) did away with the need for the program. The motion to report SB 507 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.
  • SB 546 - Updating STEM scholarship program. The bill cleans up outdated language and makes the scholarships available to students attending charter schools, home schools, learning pods, microschools, and other educational programs authorized by the Legislature. The motion to report SB 546 to the floor with the recommendation it do pass was adopted.
Senate School Choice Committee 
  • SB 598 - Relating generally to Hope Scholarship Program. The bill authorizes microschools and learning pods to issue secondary school diplomas. It provides that the Hope Scholarship appropriation calculation will be based on the estimated number of Hope Scholarship applications for the fiscal year rather than the actual number of applications from the prior year. It also allows charter schools to charge Hope Scholarship students for classes that students enroll in at the charter school. Read more here.

Week 3 (January 20-26)

House Education

  • HB 4372 - To increase the 35-year limit on interval pay raises for teachers to 40 years. This bill was introduced and sent to House Education, amended, and passed with due pass referred to House Finance. 
  • HB 4776 - Adding elementary schools to the school disciplinary bill passed last year. This bill allows a teacher to remove a disruptive student, and the student cannot be put back in the classroom for the remainder of the period.  Three (3) monthly removals require the student to be suspended.  A committee amendment was offered to require a parent conference within 3 days of the removal.  An amendment to the committee amendment was offered to address exceptionalities for students with IEPs. The bill passed as amended and sent to the floor for due pass.  It is on the first reading of the special calendar.
  • HB 4777 - Allow staff members in public schools to eat lunch for free if food is left over after every student has been fed. Several delegates expressed surprise that this “common sense” practice required legislation. The bill passed and was sent to the floor for due pass.  It is on the first reading of the special calendar.
  • HB 4851 - To allow for public and private schools in West Virginia to employ security personnel. This bill would allow school security officers to be employed and carry firearms under certain conditions.  A committee amendment was offered to make technical corrections and allow the SSO the ability to detain individuals until law enforcement arrived.  The bill was introduced and amended for due pass but first to the Judiciary Committee. To read more, click here.
  • HB 4767  Relating to WV teaching salaries - A bill that was introduced to House Education and resides in House Finance is getting a lot of attention. According to House Education Committee Chairman Joe Ellington, previous pay raises help teachers keep up, but they’re not getting ahead. He has proposed a pay raise that he believes would make a difference. The bill passed out of committee, would raise the starting pay for teachers to $44,000. That is about $4,000 to $5,000 more than the current starting salary. To read more, click here.

 

Senate Education

  • SB 280  Allowing teachers in public schools to teach intelligent design - The bill effectively paves the way for the discussion of intelligent design theory, which says that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. Proponents of intelligent design argue that it is a scientific theory based on evidence of design in the biological world, but detractors claim that it is pseudoscientific and not testable through the scientific method. This bill passed the Senate and is on its way to the House Education. To read more about this bill click here.
  • SB 152  Displaying official US motto in public schools - This bill passed the Senate and was ordered to the House. After House Education, it moves to Judiciary.
  • SB 302 - Authorizing child sexual abuse and sexual violence prevention program and in-service training in child sexual abuse prevention. This bill would provide age-appropriate instruction in personal safety and child abuse in grades 3-6 and instruction in dating violence, etc., in grades 7-12.  The bill was amended to give the parents at least a one week's notice to opt out.  The amendment passed.  Committee Substitute for SB 302, as amended, was adopted and will be reported to the full Senate. It is on the first reading.
  • SB 468 - Requiring course in public schools on human development. The bill makes the showing of a video on human development mandatory in health for 8th grade with a refresher course in the 10th grade.  The bill would create the “Baby Olivia Act,” which includes the video “Meet Baby Olivia,” produced by Live Action. The Committee substitute passed and was sent to the Senate floor, where it is on the second reading. To read more, click here.
  • SB 502 - Allowing Teachers Retirement System members to exchange unused leave for monetary compensation. This bill was introduced and resides with Senate Education.
  • SB 503 - Protecting belief-based student organizations from certain types of discrimination. This bill was introduced and resides with Senate Education.
  •  
  • Week 2 (January 15-19)

    Despite the cold snowy weather, legislators were very busy and we are now tracking more than 125 education-related bills (see bill tracking).  Both House and Senate Education Committees considered multiple bills. We were pleased that bills providing pay raises for teachers and service personnel are now advancing. See these highlights below:

    Senate Education

    • SB 280  Allowing teachers in public schools to teach intelligent design - This bill is on the Senate floor for its second reading after passing from the Senate Education Committee.
    • SB 152  Displaying official US motto in public schools - This bill was introduced in the Senate and referred to Education before returning to the floor. The Committee substitute that was reported from Education is currently on 2nd reading.
    • SB 253  Establishing minimum student enrollment for school aid formula - This bill was introduced in the Senate and moved to Education. A committee substitute was reported to Finance earlier this week.
    • SB 466 Requiring development of safety while accessing technology education program - This bill was introduced to the Senate Education Committee.
    • SB 448 Requiring age-appropriate instruction on Holocaust in public schools - This bill was introduced to the Senate Education Committee.
    • SB 259 Requiring Higher Education Policy Commission to create and administer PROMISE Plus Program - This bill was introduced to the Senate Education Committee.

    House Education

    • HB 4202  Raising salaries for school service personnel - This bill was introduced to House Education and moved swiftly to House Finance.
    • HB 4763  Establishing the behavioral health workforce education initiative at the Higher Education Policy Commission - This bill was introduced to House Education.
    • HB 4767  Relating to WV teaching salaries - This bill was introduced to House Education then moved to House Finance. Read more here.
    • HB 4768  Relating to increasing the number of out-of-state medical students receiving in-state tuition rates who agree to practice for a specific time within West Virginia - This bill was introduced in House Education on Tuesday.
    • HB 4769 Clarifying appropriate and inappropriate duties for school counselors while also providing the definition of a school counselor - This bill passed from House Education with an amendment. It moves back to the House Special Calendar, scheduling its first reading on the floor for Friday.
    • HCR 24 To create a study resolution to examine the school aid formula - This resolution was sent to the Rules Committee on Thursday.
  • Week 1 (January 10-12)

    The second regular session of the 86th West Virginia Legislature commenced with a burst of activity as lawmakers unveiled a flurry of more than 75 education bills. The Education Alliance compiled this initial education bill tracking sheet.  On Wednesday, Governor Justice presented his final State of the State address and highlighted educational issues including teacher pay raises, Communities in Schools, Hope Scholarship, etc... On Monday, the House Education Committee is scheduled to meet to address several bills.

    Senate Education Updates

    • SB 162 Establishing a Summer Feeding for All Program. This bill was introduced in the Senate, and the normal Committee reference was dispensed and is on the third reading. It provides for a county-by-county assessment of non-school-day student initiative; addressing food insecurities, empowering county school boards to develop initiatives and programs for feeding students in need during summer and other non-school time periods; providing county board reporting requirements to the Office of Child Nutrition; and directing the Office of Child Nutrition to collect and distribute information regarding available food resources.

If you have questions or wish to be added to our listserve, please contact us at [email protected].