W.Va. Lawmaker Reintroduces Education Savings Account Bill

Jan 16, 2020

Sen. Education Chair Patricia Rucker of Jefferson County
Credit Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A controversial proposal that failed in the GOP-led West Virginia Legislature’s education overhaul last year has been reintroduced in the state senate. 

Senate Education Chair Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, introduced Senate Bill 515 Thursday, which would allow for education savings accounts. Those accounts allocate public funds for private school or homeschooling expenses.

That proposal, which passed the Senate last year but did not clear the House in a special session, was opposed by public educators and the leaders of their unions. 

Rucker says Senate Bill 515 mirrors last year’s measure. She says she doesn’t expect her committee to immediately run the new bill.

Last summer, the Legislature passed a sweeping education omnibus bill that included charter schools and other proposals opposed by teachers. It also offered a five percent pay increase for school employees. 

An earlier version of the omnibus offered in last year’s regular session — which included education savings accounts — motivated educators and service personnel to go on strike for two days.