January 2015

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January 15, 2015

By Joel Ebert, Daily Mail

As is the case with every year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin received a variety of praise and criticism from members of his own party, as well as the new majority party, following Wednesday’s State of the State Address.Republican leaders were pleased to hear the governor’s call to push back against regulations being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

”The EPA is way, way too deep in the business and the future of our state. We’re going to push...

January 15, 2015

And we’re off!

Wednesday’s start to West Virginia’s 82nd Legislature carried with it a strong sense of history. After all, the state had not had Republican majorities in the Senate and House of Delegates since 1932.

Republicans did their best to avoid spiking the ball, but they were understandably gleeful. Democrats, facing the unfamiliar position of the minority party, were gracious.
And Governor Tomblin, in his state of the state address last night, acknowledged the...

January 15, 2015

By David Gutman, Charleston Gazette

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s announcement that he will introduce legislation to expand the hiring of teachers who do not have a background in teaching has the state’s teachers unions taking a wait-and-see approach.

“We must give local school systems better flexibility to train and hire subject-matter experts to fill long-term vacancies in critical subject areas,” Tomblin said during his State of the State address Wednesday night.


January 16, 2015

By Ryan Quinn

The Charleston Gazette

The Calhoun County school district’s deficit at the end of last fiscal year surpassed $1.8 million, exceeding one-fifth of its annual operating budget, but recent drastic efforts to reduce it have received opposition from employees.

Superintendent Tim Woodward, who joined the district in March, said that despite losing $350,000 annually in state funding over the past several years due to declining enrollment – Calhoun dropped from 1,...

January 16, 2015

By Samuel Speciale

Charleston Daily Mail

A proposed school calendar with an early start date had the support of several stakeholder groups who spoke Thursday at the Kanawha County Board of Education meeting.

The calendar, which would have students in school from Aug. 10 to May 24, is nearly identical to the one Kanawha County is using this year. It also allocates one week for Thanksgiving and spring breaks and two full weeks for winter break.

A second calendar...

January 16, 2015

By Phil Kabler

The Charleston Gazette

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed a $4.77 billion 2015-16 West Virginia budget Wednesday that includes no tax increases and essentially no pay raises for state or public school employees.

For the first time since the State Budget Office has prepared six-year budget projections, the proposed budget reduces spending in the state’s base budget by nearly $40 million.

The budget also calls for dipping into the Revenue Shortfall...

January 20, 2015

By Shauna Johnson

WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Even though Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is proposing no pay raises for teachers in the coming year, lawmakers are still expected to have a teacher pay raise proposal to consider during the ongoing Regular Legislative Session.

Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, said a bill will soon be introduced at the State House that, if approved, would put into state code yearly increases to take the...

January 21, 2015

By Samuel Speciale

Charleston Daily Mail

State senators who drafted a resolution urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to fill vacancies on the West Virginia Board of Education said Tuesday they expect the governor to make an appointment soon.

The state Senate Education Committee intended to pass the resolution Tuesday, but state Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, withdrew it when he learned Tomblin is planning to announce his appointment in the coming days. Sypolt is the committee’s...

January 21, 2015

Teachers want to unite, sue over retirement investment
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette

Attorneys argued from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday about whether possibly more than 4,100 current and former West Virginia school employees can band together in a lawsuit against a company that allegedly misled them into investing retirement savings into a plan that didn’t perform as well as the traditional state Teachers’ Retirement System.

Kanawha Circuit...

January 22, 2015

State education department delivers budget
By Samuel Speciale

Education reporter Despite projected spending that will top $2 billion, West Virginia Department of Education officials say state funding for the next fiscal year will be at a five-year low.

The budget, which calls for nearly $2 billion in state general funds and an additional $500 million in lottery and federal money, was the topic of a lengthy two-hour discussion on Wednesday between State...

January 22, 2015

Governor fills 2 vacancies on state Board of Education
By Ryan Quinn, Staff writer

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin filled two vacancies on the state school board Wednesday, creating a full dozen-member board for the first time since two members resigned in 2012 following the abrupt firing of former state schools superintendent Jorea Marple.

In a news release, Tomblin announced the appointments, effective immediately, of Dr. James S. Wilson and Beverly E. Kingery....

January 22, 2015

State making its way to better days, state revenue secretary says

CHARLESTON — In spite of budget cuts and using Rainy Day Funds, Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss said Wednesday that the state is heading toward better days.
“Two years down the road we are anticipating a surplus,” Kiss said. “We are getting there.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s budget lacks $151 million between revenues and expenditures, numbers he...