The West Virginia House Education Committee has advanced a resolution that could amend the state constitution. The amendment would reduce the number of state Board of Education members and call for the election of some members.
Current law dictates the governor appoint nine of the board’s 12 members -- with the remaining three non-voting ex-officio members serving in the role of state superintendent of schools, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and chancellor of Community and Technical College Education.
House Joint Resolution 103, sponsored by House Education Chair Del. Paul Espinosa, could reduce the board to nine members -- six of whom would be elected and three appointed by the governor. It would also give the the Legislature oversight of the Board of Education’s rule-making process.
The resolution passed the House Education Committee Wednesday and now heads to House Judiciary.
If approved by a two-thirds majority of each chamber and signed by Governor Jim Justice, the resolution would become a ballot measure as a constitutional amendment -- with West Virginia voters having the final say on the matter.
Those opposed to the measure argue that the influence of money could give educators a lesser chance of serving and muddy the functions of the board with politics.
House Education staff counsel noted that future legislation would be necessary to dictate how and when the election of board members would take place.