Sunday, March 26, 2023

Senate Introduces Student Success Act

The Senate reconvened the 1st Extraordinary session Saturday morning, introducing Senate Bill 1039, Establishing the Student Success Act, as well as several other bills.

The bill includes a variety of proposed changes to the public education system, including pay increases, charter schools under the purview of county and state boards of education,  increased support personnel for schools, open enrollment, incentives to fill in-demand positions and financial support for smaller county school systems, among other things.

The bill removes concepts that were controversial during the 2019 regular session, including education savings accounts, “paycheck protection” and a nonseverability clause.

Other changes made to the bill late Friday night included:

• Removing authority of county boards to increase their regular levy rate.

• Correcting language in the teacher-pupil ratio section to be consistent with the intent to not
change class sizes.

• Removing all of the strike/work stoppage language except for prohibiting extracurricular
activities on days school is closed due to a work stoppage or strike.

• Adding language to the Innovation in Education article providing that no waivers from state
board rules can be granted without the approval of the State Board.

• Allowing any accredited WV public institution of higher education to apply to convert or create a
charter school, but prohibits an institution of higher education from applying to itself or another
institution of higher education.

• Making several changes to provisions relating to the searchable budget database and website
such as adding language providing that the State Superintendent shall not be required to violate
FERPA; and providing that employee addresses are not to be made public or otherwise
displayed on the budget data website.

• Removing language providing that net enrollment does not include any adult charged tuition or
special fees beyond that required of the regular secondary vocational student.

A motion to suspend the constitutional rules requiring a bill be read on three separate days for SB1039 failed on a 18-15 vote. A 4/5 vote was needed to suspend the rules. Senate Bill 1039 will be on second reading on Sunday, June 2.

Senate Bill 1040, Education Savings Account Act, was also intoduced. A motion to take the bill up for immediate consideration failed. The bill will be on first reading tomorrow, June 2.

Senate Bill 1041 , WV Business Ready Sites Program, and Senate Bill 1042 , Special Community Development School Pilot Program, were introduced and referred to committee.

Finally, the Senate amended and passed House Bill 118, which relates to the use of post-criminal conduct in professional and occupational initial licensure decision making. The bill had passed earlier in the special session. Corrections were made today to avoid unintended consequences and get the legislation more in line with its intent. The bill now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.

The Senate has adourned until tomorrow, June 2, at 2:00pm.



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