WV lawmakers hear proposals for elected state school board

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WV lawmakers hear proposals for elected state school board
RYAN QUINN | Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia lawmakers heard Tuesday about general proposals to allow voters to elect state Board of Education members and allow lawmakers themselves to reject and amend policies that the state school board passes.

The hour-and-a-half legislative interim meeting came after the House Education Committee passed House Joint Resolution 24 during this year’s regular legislative session.

It would’ve put before voters a constitutional amendment that, if voters approved it, would’ve made six of the board’s nine voting members elected officials. They’re currently all gubernatorial appointees.

The amendment also would’ve let the Legislature reject the policies the board passes — a power lawmakers have over rules passed by other state agencies, including the higher education agencies.

Delegate Roy Cooper, R-Summers, sponsored the resolution, which had House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, and House Education Chairman Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, among its eight co-sponsors, also all Republicans.

But the House Judiciary Committee transformed the joint resolution into a mere resolution requiring a study.

To even get before voters, such a resolution would need to be approved by two-thirds majorities in both the full House and Senate.

The state board and lawmakers have butted heads in recent years over Common Core education standards and standardized tests. One of the presenters Tuesday from the National Conference of State Legislatures discussed the issue of legislative power over state board decisions in the context of the backlash against Common Core.

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