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March 2014

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March 3, 2014

Dan Heyman, Public News Service-WV

(03/03/14) CHARLESTON, W.Va. - State lawmakers are struggling to close a big budget hole, but a close look shows the legislature dug that pit with business tax cuts over the last eight years. Sean O'Leary with the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy pointed out that state spending has been basically flat for some time, but the tax cuts made since 2006 are part of what is causing a budget gap of more than $200 million next year.

"We're...

March 4, 2014

By Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball
For The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This is the time of year when we decide on West Virginia's priorities through legislation and the budget process. There is no higher priority for the state than the wellbeing of West Virginia's youngest children. Funding early childhood education is not only the right thing to do, it's a smart investment for the state.

The governor's proposed budget cuts early childhood programs, including home-...

March 4, 2014

By Jeff Jenkins
WV MetroNews

A Senate bill aimed at giving teachers a modest raise took a significant turn Monday when the House Education Committee proposed a far steeper pay hike.

The Senate bill included only an $837 across-the-board raise for teachers, but the House committee changed that to a three-year package totaling $6,000. The first year would see teachers earning an additional $1,000, the second year $2,000 and the third year $3,000.

The committee also...

March 5, 2014

By Hoppy Kercheval
WV MetroNews

The House Finance Committee Wednesday tried to straighten out a pay raise plan for school teachers and service workers that was botched in the House Education Committee two days earlier.

Finance Committee members switched the raise package back to a one-year $1,000 across the board increase for teachers, from a three-year $6,000 raise approved by the Education Committee.

The $6,000 raise plan surprised key lawmakers, the teacher...

March 5, 2014

By Jessica Lilly
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Senate recently passed the “Move to Improve Act” which could change the daily grind in state classrooms. The bill is in response to the Healthy Lifestyles Act, which was passed by the legislature in 2005 without a mechanism to assure implementation. Lawmakers say they’re trying to address an epidemic of childhood obesity in West Virginia. 

Children and teens spend more than half of their waking hours at school.

...
March 5, 2014

By Mackenzie Mays
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Education leaders hope the state's implementation of Project 24, a digital learning initiative, could eliminate snow days as we know them.

The way state Board of Education member Mike Green sees it, the project could mean a school system facing an inordinate number of snow days -- like many did this year -- would not have to cancel classes.

"Instead of the scrawl going across the bottom of the screen...

March 5, 2014

By Shauna Johnson
WV MetroNews

State tax collections in West Virginia finished February a total of $9 million above estimates.

It was the second month in a row for better than expected revenue collections, but state officials said that’s largely due to a technicality since some insurance premium tax money came in earlier than expected.

Overall, revenue collections are $64 million below estimates for the year with just four months remaining until the fiscal year...

March 6, 2014

By Mackenzie Mays
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The College Board announced major changes to the SAT on Wednesday, including cutting back the test's possible points and changing its categories, revamping content to align more closely with current college courses and waiving college application fees for low-income students.

The SAT, which was last updated nearly a decade ago, will use a 1,600-point scale, instead of its existing 2,400-point scale, and will...

March 7, 2014

By Mackenzie Mays
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's teachers unions are protesting a dress code proposed by the Kanawha County school board that would regulate when teachers can wear blue jeans, and would ban shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops and some other clothing items.

The first draft of the policy -- unveiled in special session Thursday -- also requires hair and nails to be clean and neatly groomed, and beards and mustaches "to be neatly trimmed...

March 7, 2014

By Staff and wire reports
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

...
March 10, 2014

Associated Press 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia concluded its 60-day legislative session Saturday. Here is a look at some highlights from the two months of lawmaking.

Chemical Spill Bill

Three days into the legislative session, Freedom Industries spilled chemicals into the water supply for 300,000 people. A water-use ban lasted up to 10 days, and the issue consumed lawmakers for the next two months.

By adding inspections at many above-ground storage tanks...

March 10, 2014

Marla Pisciotta, Cumberland Times-News   

ROMNEY, W.Va. — Eleven child care workers at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are upset, saying their jobs are in jeopardy due to their education.

A mandatory meeting was called this week by superintendent Lynn Boyer.

The child care workers, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were under the impression that the meeting was to get input regarding changes on the campus.

“We’ve been told all along...

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