Addition of Parents on the Education Board Has Overwhelming Support in the House

Feb 5, 2015

Credit West Virginia Legislative Services

Anyone visiting the state capitol who is licensed to carry concealed weapons would be allowed to keep loaded firearms in their motor vehicles that are parked near the complex. This bill overwhelmingly passed the house Thursday.

Delegate Gary Howell of Mineral County cited the bill as a safety issue.

“This bill addresses a problem that we have. We have our constituents come down from all over the state, normal, average, everyday West Virginians that have their concealed carry permit. They know that they can’t bring them in the buildings, but they don’t know they can’t park in the parking lots," Howell noted, "This addresses that issue, so they know they can come to the Capitol, and if some time there is a very late night meeting and it’s dark and whatever, they know when they get back to their car, they’re at a point of safety, and I urge passage.”

House Bill 2128 passed 97 to 0.

On second reading, or the amendment stage, was House Bill 2151, which would make the West Virginia teacher of the year an ex officio, nonvoting member of the West Virginia Board of Education.

Delegate Doug Reynolds, a Democrat from Cabell County, stood to offer an amendment to suggest the a change in the qualifications of some members of the Board of Education.

“The purpose of my amendment is to also add in that two members of the 13 must also be parents," explained Reynolds, "when they’re appointed of children currently under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education.”

Reynolds' amendment received major support from both sides of the aisle passing 97 to 1. The one rejection vote was from Delegate Joe Statler, a Republican from Monongalia County.

Currently, the Governor appoints the members of the state school board with the advice and consent of the Senate. Reynolds suggests that the Governor must consider board members who actually have school age children. He thinks it would help bring a new perspective.

“I think that parents bring a perspective of what’s going on in the schools," Reynolds said, "not necessarily what might not be in those rulebooks and what might be in those policies, but how those policies are affecting kids on a day-to-day basis.”

Reynolds says he has nothing against the current school board, but he thinks his amendment will help aim to make the school system better.

“I think it shows that we value the input of parents," Reynolds explained, "because almost all of the experts I talk to complain about parent engagement, and I think this is showing some leadership and saying we value you, we want your views on the school board.”

With committee passage of the repeal of the prevailing wage in the Senate yesterday and that issue poised for a vote on the senate floor next week, Delegate Mike Caputo warned his house colleagues that the bill is on its way. 

“The Senate passed a bill repealing the prevailing wage in West Virginia, a wage that workers depend on to feed their families, that workers depend on to make sure their kids have the same opportunities as rich folks kids have to go to college and have a nice home and a nice car. They’re deeply concerned and they’re deeply worried, and I know you all have gotten the letters that I’ve gotten," Caputo said, "And I’ve gotten more letters from businesses who are concerned about the repeal of the prevailing wage on what it will do to good West Virginia businesses. It’s been here a long time, and it’s provided a good work place for those men and women. So I would caution us to think long and hard about how we proceed when that bill comes over here.”