December 2018

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December 3, 2018

BY: Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Delegate Roger Hanshaw won a rematch with House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson to continue as Speaker of the House of Delegates.

“My objective is now the same as it was in August, and that was to continue to advocate on behalf of things to put West Virginians back to work,” Hanshaw said after Sunday’s caucus vote.

Hanshaw, R-Clay, was selected Speaker by the Republican majority in August...

December 4, 2018

By: Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Kanawha County Board of Education member Becky Jordon argued fervently Monday that the first semester of next school year should end before winter break.

The school board, alongside considering a student start date of Aug. 12 or Aug. 19, is also apparently leaning toward using a law passed in 2017 to transform five student early-out days, which feature faculty senate meetings after students leave, into full “professional learning” days...

December 5, 2018

By: Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

With a Dec. 11 deadline looming, a subcommittee of the governor’s PEIA task force adopted some key recommendations Tuesday, including a proposal to eliminate penalties for seeking medical care in out-of-state border counties.

However, the task force — created at the height of the statewide teacher walkout to find a long-term “fix” to ongoing problems with the state-run health insurance plan — is likely to leave major issues unresolved...

December 7, 2018

By: Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Members of the Public Employees Insurance Agency Task Force are expected to finalize their recommendations to the Legislature early next week — without identifying a dedicated funding source to offset ongoing health care cost increases.

West Virginia teachers are following the task force’s progress closely, leaders of the state’s teachers unions said.

“Our members are watching this very carefully,” said Fred Albert, newly elected...

December 7, 2018

By: Roger Riddell, EducationDive

When its over, 2018 may go down as the year teachers finally had enough — and brought public support along with them. After years of shouldering the blame for schools' challenges to the point that former U.S. Secretary of Education John King felt the need to issue an apology, all while facing ...

December 11, 2018

By: Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

With a marathon of meetings Monday afternoon, the PEIA Task Force approved a series of recommendations to present to the West Virginia Legislature on Tuesday, but left many key issues unresolved.

Despite a Tuesday deadline to submit its recommendations, Task Force Chairman Mike Hall, who is chief of staff to Gov. Jim Justice, announced Monday that Justice has decided to extend the Task Force so it can continue work on the unresolved...

December 12, 2018

By: Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Patricia Rucker, a home-school and private-school advocate and vaccine requirement opponent, will be the state Senate Education Committee’s chairwoman, replacing the teachers union-backed Kenny Mann, Senate President Mitch Carmichael announced Tuesday.

The Legislature’s other education body will also see new leadership when the next session starts Jan. 9. Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, said he’ll no longer be leading the House...

December 12, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. − The West Virginia Education Association issued the following statement in response to the appointment of Senator Patricia Rucker as Senate Education Committee chair. 

We are disappointed to hear that Senator Rucker has been named chair of the Senate Education Committee and to read Senator Carmichael’s statement that “…she understands it will take bold reforms and landmark change to truly make a difference in West Virginia’s educational landscape.”

The WVEA,...

December 13, 2018

By: Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to recommend state lawmakers provide more money to maintain buildings, purchase supplies, offer vocational education, address students’ mental health and give alternative education to students with discipline issues.

The state school board, in a voice vote with no nays heard, also suggested increasing pay for school employees and resurrecting incentives for them not to use their leave...

December 13, 2018

By WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board held Wednesday the first public hearing on its plan proposals set to begin July 2019.

PEIA director Ted Cheatham led the first hearing, a teleconference in which policyholders were able to participate.

“First off, let me thank everyone for their patience,” Cheatham began. “As you know, the Task Force has been working on PEIA, and the governor has been giving us and...

December 14, 2018

By: Jordan Nelson, Beckley Register-Herald

The Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) Finance Board hosted a public hearing Thursday in Beckley to provide insight to its participants on what the PEIA Task Force has been working toward in providing a fix to the insurance coverage plan.

Afterward, participants were able to voice their opinions on the matter, and many praised the work of the task force, but concerns were still voiced.

Executive Director of PEIA Ted...

December 17, 2018

By WV MetroNews

Fayette County Schools will use $6.6 million from the state School Building Authority for reconfiguring and renovating schools.

The county is seeking $13.2 million from the state for the projects, splitting the money requests over two years. The state School Building Authority approved the funding at its meeting last week.

“We’re working on four different schools, and we would not have needed all of the funding all at once,” Fayette County Schools...