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Public hearings on education legislation set for 8 a.m., 5:30 p.m. Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, today requested public hearings on Senate Bill 451, the comprehensive education reform bill.

The hearings will take place Monday, Feb. 11, at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the House Chamber at the state Capitol.

“We said from the start of our deliberations that we would accept input from all sides in this process, and that includes hearing from our teachers, students, parents and administrators,” Hanshaw said. “A public hearing will allow our citizens, and all those affected by this bill, the opportunity to have their voices heard.”

AFT-WV, one of the state’s two teacher unions, said they look forward to publicly addressing the bill.

“AFT-WV welcomes this opportunity to be able to address this bill and have some constructive input,” reads a statement from AFT-WV president Fred Albert. “We look forward to having the chance to speak and express our concerns. This is more than we received from the Senate.”

Hanshaw sent a letter Thursday morning to Education Committee Chairman Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, and Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley – who lead the two committees to which the bill has been referred – formally requesting the hearing.

House Rule 84 allows any member to request a public hearing on a bill that is placed on a committee agenda.

“While our Education and Finance committees hear from experts on questions related to this bill, this hearing will allow those on the front lines of our education system to weigh in,” Hanshaw said. “We want to make our education system the best it can be for all involved, and this hearing will provide valuable input on this process.”

As part of House Rule 84, a public hearing cannot be scheduled sooner than two days after the hearing time and place has been announced on the House floor.

Read more about the bill passed by the Senate in My Buckhannon’s previous story. You can also read our coverage of the Upshur County Board of Education’s unanimous decision to formally oppose the legislation.

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