Bills pass to allow non-public school students access to sports, eliminate RESAs
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Legislature finalized two education-related bills in the final few hours of the 60-day session Saturday night.
The session neared its midnight deadline when the Senate finally agreed to the last version of the HB 2711, which would eliminate eight Regional Educational Service Agencies while giving flexibility in the 180-day school calendar.
“School systems can accumulate five days of time that they can use to offset snow days that are missed. That’s based on a commitment to extending the school day by 30 minutes per day,” House Education Committee Chairman Paul Espinosa (D-Jefferson) said.
The system can accumulate five additional days that can be used for teacher collaboration. The bill also allows for counties to plan “backpack days” at home for students during inclement weather.
The bill also prohibits the state Board of Education from from returning to common core or any national testing program without the oversight of the legislature.
The second measure, HB 2196, which began as a bill to allow home-school students to play public school sports, led to a compromised form that includes private and parochial school students. They would be allowed to play public school sports if their school doesn’t offer the particular sport.
The student would have meet certain academic requirements.
Both bills advanced to Gov. Jim Justice, who has a direct perspective on the issue of home-schooled athletes, considering he coaches the girl’s and boy’s basketball teams at Greenbrier East High School.