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March 2017

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March 21, 2017

Cheatham: PEIA bill would give finance board more flexibility
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

A bill approved Monday by the House of Delegates Finance Committee would give the state PEIA Finance Board more flexibility when it comes to the annual changes in health insurance for active state workers.

The bill (HB 2871) would eliminate the mandated employer versus employee cost share of 80 percent employer, 20 percent employee for PEIA and allow the finance...

March 21, 2017

Despite concerns about lower and middle class, tax bill moves forward
By Phil Kabler, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Legislation to substantially change West Virginia’s tax system continues to move forward in the Senate, despite concerns that it could hurt lower- and middle-class families and state retailers.

A Senate finance subcommittee on Monday advanced the Tax Reform Act (SB 335), which in its current version would significantly reduce income tax,...

March 21, 2017

Ed. official: Paine, D’Antoni, Hess are WV schools chief finalists
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia Board of Education’s has selected three finalists for state schools superintendent, according to an education official.

The finalists are: Steve Paine, who served as state superintendent from mid-2005 through the end of 2010; Kathy D’Antoni, the state Department of Education’s chief career and technical education officer; and Blaine...

March 23, 2017

Education bills concern WVEA president in Charleston
By MetroNews Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill which would give West Virginia teachers and school service workers a payraise has cleared its first hurdle in Charleston.  The K-12 Education proposed by Governor Jim Justice bill won late night approval Wednesday in the House Finance Committee with the pay improvement intact.   It’s unknown how long that will stand however as the bill goes to the House Finance...

March 23, 2017

Governor suggests state’s population decline will continue if budget “cut to the bone”
By Alex Wiederspiel, WV MetroNews

In the wake of the release of U.S. Census data unfavorable to the state, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice predicts residents will continue to flee the state if the State Legislature presents a budget that’s too heavy and reliant on cuts to services.

“You’ve got to find a way out of it that’s not taking an aspirin for cancer and just...

March 24, 2017

Paine picked to return as WV state schools superintendent
Ryan Quinn, WV Gazette-Mail

Steve Paine will return for a second stint as West Virginia schools superintendent. State Board of Education members voted to hire him Thursday, after several hours of closed-door meetings.

Paine, who was superintendent from mid-2005 through the end of 2010, and two other candidates were interviewed, and Paine was then hired at an annual salary of $230,000. The board...

March 24, 2017

Daily Mail editorial: To improve education, stop micromanaging educators
Charleston Gazette-Mail

It seems like the state’s governing structure for public education is sort of like your 12th-grade English teacher at the time the class was assigned to write its first term paper (before such assignments were done online).

The teacher issues a long list of instructions: Center the heading at the top of Page 1. Double-space each line. Set the left margin at 1...

March 26, 2017

WV Senate Finance Committee delays action on $79M education funding cut
Ryan Quinn, WV Gazette-Mail

Amid criticism from Democrats and questions about the bill’s constitutionality, West Virginia’s Senate Finance Committee postponed Saturday taking action on a bill that would cut state funding to public education next fiscal year by about $79 million.

Senate Bill 609 would also newly authorize county school boards to raise regular levy property-tax rates if...

March 28, 2017

Student-teacher ratio, home-school bills WV House near passage
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-mail

The West Virginia House of Delegates is on the brink of passing House Bill 3088, which would remove the cap on the number of students per teacher in sixth-grade public school classrooms.

Delegates also are close to passing...

March 29, 2017

House passes bill nixing RESAs, OEPA, 180 separate school days mandate
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-mail

The West Virginia House of Delegates voted 76-24 Tuesday to pass on to the Senate a bill that eliminates the eight Regional Education Services Agencies, the state Office of Education Performance Audits and the mandate that public school year calendars have at...

March 29, 2017

McDowell County worst on health rankings; other southern counties rank poorly
By Wendy Holdren Register-Herald Reporter

McDowell County ranks as West Virginia's least healthy county, according to the 2017 Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings.  

Other southern counties ranked in the top five with the poorest health — Mingo, Wyoming, Logan and Mercer. 

Not much higher in the rankings were Fayette (No. 48), Raleigh (No. 45), Nicholas (No. 43)...

March 30, 2017

By one vote, WV Senate passes school tax increase bill
Ryan Quinn, WV Gazette-Mail

By a hair, the West Virginia Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would cut state pre-K through 12 public education funding by $79.3 million and automatically raise counties’ regular levy property tax rates to make up for the loss.

Senate Bill...

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