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December 2016

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December 1, 2016

Nicholas County lost more than one-fourth of students since '90
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

SUMMERSVILLE — Nicholas County Schools’ superintendent didn’t recommend Wednesday evening whether the local school board should consolidate two Richwood schools with Summersville Middle, as some in Richwood fear.
“We’re not there yet,” Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick said.

She said she’ll continue to collect and provide more data to the...

December 1, 2016

PEIA Finance Board approves burdensome FY 2018 proposal
By WVEA Communications Staff

The PEIA Finance Board approved a Fiscal Year 2018 plan Thursday, Dec. 1, that tweaked the proposal sent out to public hearings in November, but still puts far too much burden for rising health-care costs on active employees, retirees and their families. 

The total plan savings – by way of benefit cuts – will be about $55 million.

Active employees with PEIA Plans A, B, and D...

December 2, 2016

PEIA proposal includes 90-day fills for maintenance drugs
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State and public school workers will now be required to get 90-day fills for prescriptions they take for high blood pressure and other chronic conditions in a plan passed by the state Public Insurance Agency Finance Board Thursday.

The prescription change is part of next fiscal year’s health insurance plan. It’s expected to save about $11 million a...

December 2, 2016

PEIA board approves more than $50 million in cuts
By Phil Kabler, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board members approved more than $50 million in 2017-18 plan benefits cuts for state and public school employees, many non-state public employees, and retirees on Thursday.

That includes about $28 million in benefit cuts for state and public school employees, primarily through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums...

December 6, 2016

W.Va. legislators hear about possible school voucher legislation
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia lawmakers heard Monday about possible legislation that would benefit families of homeschool and private school students, including “Education Savings Accounts” that could give families public money to pay tuition to private schools, including religious schools, and other education costs.

The discussion at Monday’s Joint Standing...

December 6, 2016

University High students protest against administrator
By Sunshine Wiles, WV MetroNews

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A student protest at University High School Monday morning targeting Principal Shari Burgess prompted crowd control before the start of classes.

“It certainly is unfortunate that students have used this venue when they could’ve easily met with Dr. Burgess or the administrators out there if they needed to. But, the First Amendment right protects...

December 8, 2016

Lawmakers told without action 2018 budget deficit “north of $400 million”
By Jeff Jenkins, MetroNews

State Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss told state lawmakers Tuesday that if there are no further state budget cuts or tax increases the 2018 fiscal year budget will have a deficit “north of $400 million.”

Kiss appeared somewhat reluctant in putting that big number before lawmakers given he doesn’t have the revenue estimates for next fiscal year but he gave the...

December 8, 2016

Casey: Tax hikes should be part of WV’s budget talks
Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-mail

West Virginia Gov.-elect Jim Justice’s newly announced chief of staff said that, after a slow start, the transition is in full gear.“I know the transition process is not fits and starts,” Nick Casey said Wednesday. “I can hear it humming.”

Casey, a longtime Charleston lawyer and lobbyist and former chairman of the state Democratic Party, said it is clear the key...

December 8, 2016

PEIA director says big cuts may happen every year
By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-mail

A week after the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board approved about $50 million in benefits cuts for next year for those covered by the health insurance plan, PEIA Executive Director Ted Cheatham told legislators Tuesday that could become the norm.

“We’re going to need $50 [million] to $60 million a year, every year, of new funding,” Cheatham said of...

December 8, 2016

Audit recommends shifting authority of RESAs to state 
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

A newly publicized legislative audit recommends taking away “all autonomy and independence” from West Virginia’s eight Regional Education Service Agencies — the multi-county organizations that are supposed to aid county public school systems — and transferring the agencies’ power and employees to the state Department of Education.

Officials from RESAs, which help...

December 9, 2016

Brad Simmons: New A-F grading system fails (Daily Mail)

For years, public schools in West Virginia have been measured objectively and completely by the state Board of Education’s Office of Education Performance Audits.

Audit staff and personnel from peer schools visit and comprehensively evaluate each public school on a four-year schedule. The audit evaluates the school, administration, teachers and support staff on seven comprehensive standards and determines...

December 12, 2016

Bobbi Nicholson: The problem with school vouchers, besides their segregationist roots, effects

Let’s be clear: Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has never been a teacher or a principal or a superintendent. She’s never run a school or a school district, and if she has any experience with higher education other than having been a student, there’s no record of it.

She did not herself attend either a public school or a public...

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