Bill Hamilton
Sen. Bill Hamilton

Bill Hamilton reflects on education bill as Senate prepares to debate changes made by the House of Delegates

We are a little past the half way mark of the current legislative session, which has been consumed by the Omnibus Education Bill (Senate Bill 451).

There were two hearings last Monday on SB 451; one at 8 a.m. and the other at 5:30 p.m.  I attended the morning hearing, but due to schedule conflicts, did not attend the afternoon hearing. 

We had some heartfelt and relevant testimony from superintendents, principals, teachers and others. When one rises early, drives 3 ½ hours to be heard and only receives 70 seconds to make his or her points, some would say it was fruitless to even try. 

Nevertheless, our statewide education communities, determined to defend public education, showed up in great numbers prepared to do just that. 

With due respect toward my fellow colleagues in the Senate, it is disappointing to myself and many others throughout the state that the crafters of this enormous education bill did not seek the input from our West Virginia educators, but instead sought most input from out-of-state sources.  

I did not support the bill as I felt there were too many objects in the bill which could make the bill unconstitutional in addition to several that I have yet to see verifiable statistics on the benefits outweighing the detriments to our public schools (charter schools and ESA’s for example).  

In the past, I have witnessed amendments made to bills that were ruled by the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate to not be germane to the bill. I believe this bill should have been divided into separate parts and each item debated on its own merits. 

Now that the House of Delegates has passed SB 451 back to us we will have to wait and see what Senate leadership has decided to do with the bill as it comes back to the Senate.  

The House of Delegates made the following amendments to the bill:

  1. $1,000 year-end bonus if not absent more than four days (teachers and service workers)
  2. Charter schools pilot capped at two
  3. No Education Savings Accounts
  4. No paycheck protection
  5. No non-severability clause
  6. RIF decisions on qualifications, evaluations and seniority set at hiring
  7. County administrators not at will employees
  8. Law enforcement officer at each school
  9. Paid during work stoppage; can have extracurricular activities
  10. Five million dollars allocated for Innovation Zones

Some of these House amendments have high dollar fiscal implications. We should examine those carefully before making a decision to concur.

As always I appreciate the letters, emails and calls that I receive on bills that are of interest to you. When you are in Charleston, please stop in for a visit so that we can discuss the issues: State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Room W-223. 

My office phone number is 304-357-7906 or you may call my home at 304-472-1966. 

Senator Bill Hamilton, 11th Senate District

Featured

SHOPS & SERVICES

Commission, Upshur Schools to consider partnership to resurface tennis courts at county Recreational Park

BUCKHANNON – Members of the Upshur County Board of Education did not appear to find any ‘fault’ with a proposal to resurface the tennis courts located near Buckhannon-Upshur High School. In fact, the group spoke favorably about the plan served […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Fish Hawk Acres invites the community to events in December

BUCKHANNON – Mark your calendar: Fish Hawk Acres will offer several exciting events this month. Experience the fun and fine dining of Fish Hawk Acres through their Wine Clubs, Market Dinners and other special events.

SHOPS & SERVICES

Three Lady Bucs earn Big 10 All-Conference postseason volleyball honors

TENNERTON – Three Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs were honored on the recently announced Big 10 All-Conference Volleyball team. Senior Kendal Currence earned First Team honors while sophomore Alyssa Abel and senior Tori Perkins were named to the Second Team. The Lady […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Upshur County Sports Calendar

MONDAY (Nov. 28) TUESDAY (Nov. 29) Basketball WEDNESDAY (Nov. 30) Basketball Swimming THURSDAY (Dec. 1) Basketball FRIDAY (Dec. 2) Basketball SATURDAY (Dec. 3) Basketball Swimming Wrestling SUNDAY (Dec. 4)

WVWC Volleyball

Volleyball Lady ‘Cats get shutout of MEC postseason honors

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Mountain East Conference announced its 2022 volleyball all-conference teams and major award winners. Wheeling setter Karly Niesen was voted the Mountain East Conference Player of the Year in 2022, while West Liberty

SHOPS & SERVICES

Turnpike traffic exceeds estimates early Thanksgiving week

CHARLESTON, WV – Traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike was heavier than expected the first two days of the Thanksgiving travel week. From Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, through Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, 721,114 vehicles passed