February 2017

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February 9, 2017

Justice suggests pay raise for teachers, cutting RESA funds
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice proposed during his State of the State address Wednesday night a 2 percent pay raise for classroom teachers next fiscal year, and his proposed budget for next fiscal year also suggests cutting all state general revenue fund dollars for the eight Regional Education Service Agencies.

Teachers already get automatic pay raises based...

February 9, 2017

WV DOE to draft superintendent job posting as Martirano continues to address teacher shortages
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano says he has a plan to address the “unconscionable” amount of teacher vacancies in the state.

“Right now we have 718 teacher vacancies across the state,” Martirano said. “That means that our young people are not receiving the quality education they deserve by a quality...

February 14, 2017

Pension fund payments eyed as a way to fill budget gap
By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia legislative leaders are looking for flexibility in the state’s pension funding to make a dent in the current half-billion dollar budget gap.

An idea being floated by House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson would refinance the state’s pension debt, which is currently scheduled to be paid off in 2034. The refinancing would extend the payments...

February 15, 2017

Alabamans warn WV against switching school tests to ACT
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-mail

The West Virginia Department of Education has removed from proposed policy changes its recommendation that the state Board of Education switch standardized tests in public high schools from Smarter Balanced to yet-to-be-developed end of course exams.

The move comes as the new governor and groups representing teachers and school administrators have expressed...

February 16, 2017

PEIA plans to cut $50 million, director says
Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Public Employee Insurance Agency executive director Ted Cheatham told legislators Wednesday that the PEIA Finance Board had no choice but to impose about $50 million in benefits cuts for the 2017-18 plan year, since no additional funding for premiums was expected.

In December, the board approved the cuts, primarily imposing higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for...

February 16, 2017

Fayette County Schools regain local control
By WVEA Communications Staff

The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to return local control to Fayette County’s school system.

The decision means that no county school systems will be under state board’s control. 
State Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano and the Office of Education Performance Audits recommended returning local control to Fayette County.

For years the...

February 16, 2017

State board votes to reduce summative testing in high schools
By WVEA Communications Staff

The new state Board of Education took a significant step Thursday in reducing standardized testing, particularly in high schools, when they approved policy changes and waivers to Policy 2340: West Virginia Measures of Academic Progress.

Board members agreed to waive Smarter Balanced testing in grades 9 and 10 for both English/language arts and mathematics, beginning...

February 16, 2017

State school board nixes 9th, 10th grade math and English standardized testing
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

In a quick string of votes Thursday morning, the West Virginia Board of Education, newly dominated by appointees of Gov. Jim Justice, voted to eliminate math and English language arts standardized testing in ninth and 10th grades, effective this spring, and to move away from the current Smarter Balanced tests after this spring.

It’s still...

February 20, 2017

Help needed for state DOE Summer Feeding Program
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews

The state Department of Education is searching for organizations to help feed children across West Virginia this summer.

“We have a high number of kids that need to be fed through the summer that depend on our school breakfast and lunch,” said Cybele Boehm, coordinator of the Summer Food Service Program.

The program needs community groups to help provide children with...

February 22, 2017

Requirement for 180 separate days of school instruction dropped in Senate bill
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

A bill moving at the State Capitol two weeks into the 2017 Regular Legislative Session would end West Virginia’s existing requirement for 180 separate days of instruction in the Mountain State’s schools.

“I think that, in the end, you’ll have better results with this,” predicted Senate Education Committee Chair Kenny Mann (R-Monroe, 10) who spoke...

February 23, 2017

Dismantling WV Education and the Arts Department eyed
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia House Education Committee, in a voice vote with a few nays heard, passed Wednesday night a bill that would eliminate the Department of Education and the Arts and transfer most of the agencies it contains elsewhere in state government.

House Bill 2524, of which committee Chairman Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, is the lead sponsor, also would essentially...

February 23, 2017

WVUTeach receives more funding to train math and science teachers
By Sunshine Wiles, WV MetroNews

A teaching program at WVU that is really in its infancy is picking up steam and funding.

Two years ago the university received a $1.45 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative to start training science and math teachers at the secondary level through WVUTeach. This month, WVU announced a new $1.2 million grant from the National Science...