West Virginia Board of Education opposes changing the state constitution

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) and State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch have issued a joint statement in opposition to House Joint Resolution 102 (HJR 102) during its March meeting in Charleston today. The legislation, which will require a change to the West Virginia Constitution to bring the State Board’s rule-making power under the authority of the State Legislature, passed both bodies of the legislature this session. It will now be placed before voters during the general election in November 2022.

This marks the second time in as many years that the West Virginia Legislature has attempted to change the State Board’s role in setting policy for the public school system.

“The West Virginia Board of Education is comprised of citizens from diverse backgrounds and educational expertise who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate for overlapping terms,” the statement explains. “This ensures continuity and a balance of political and geographic representation and creates stability for decision-making.”

The statement continues, “The governance by the non-partisan State Board of Education provides more than a consistent and stabilizing foundation for public schools, but also a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds that are connected to the teachers, students and families of the state. The Board can respond quickly to the needs of educators and students as has been most evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WVBE President Miller Hall is a veteran educator of 40 years. “The Board of Education has maintained steady and consistent leadership of the public school system during these incredibly uncertain times,” said President Hall. “We are now moving into a post-pandemic model where we must address the extenuating circumstances and lingering effects of COVID-19 on learning and development. It will be crucial that we support our students with the continuity of balance the Board requires and provides.”

“We often talk about the need to pivot to meet the escalating and changing needs of our education community,” said Superintendent Burch. “The Board has the flexibility to move nimbly and efficiently to support our children, educators and staff in the face of change. For example, we have met with minimal notice to issue waivers. The Board has also traveled and held meetings around the state to be accessible to communities and to hear citizens’ concerns. This is the beginning of a new era of teaching and learning and our attention must not sway with the winds of political change but must stay on the progress and development of our students.”

To read the full statement and to view other documents presented to the WVBE, click here.

Finally, the Board placed two policies on comment. Policy 4350 is being amended to include grammar and formatting updates as well as a series of administrative changes.

Policy 1340 is being amended for better organization and to update relevant statutory changes.

The policies will be made available for review at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

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