Charter Schools

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia’s Senate leader says he wants to pass a sweeping House GOP education bill that would allow the state’s first charter schools.

Republican Senate President Mitch Carmichael told The Associated Press on Thursday that he’s not going to try to amend the proposal when it gets to his chamber.

West Virginia Department of Education

A new report on public education in West Virginia could be a roadmap for lawmakers who are set to focus on improving the state’s system. The report comes after a long, sweeping and  controversial education reform bill was rejected by the state Legislature earlier this year -- a measure that caused public school workers to walk off the job for two days.

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, gives her opening remarks during the 2019 Legislative Wrap Up Breakfast in Martinsburg.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A special session to address education in West Virginia is just around the corner, and lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle are making plans to reintroduce controversial legislation next month.

Did States with Charter Schools Cluster Below W.Va. in ACT Scores?

Apr 8, 2019
An ACT Assessment test in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman / AP file photo

West Virginia state Sen. Mike Romano, a Democrat, recently took a swipe at charter schools.

A Feb. 2 tweet by the West Virginia Senate Democrats quoted Romano criticizing a low ranking for the state in a report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group. Romano sought to turn the tables by offering a more favorable ranking for West Virginia -- the state’s test scores for the ACT, a major college entrance exam -- and by taking a shot at charter schools, which West Virginia doesn’t allow.

Updated on Tues. Feb. 12, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. to include the TV broadcast of "The Legislature Today" from Feb. 11, 2019.

In this reporter roundtable, we recap the week’s proceedings over Senate Bill 451 – a massive bill to reform public education in West Virginia. We bring you up-to-date on where the bill is now and where it’s heading.

It’s been a marathon day in the West Virginia Senate, as senators discuss SB 451 – the comprehensive education reform bill – as a “committee as a whole.” In the House, delegates considered amendments to HB 2010 – transitioning the state’s foster care system to a managed care model.

The omnibus education reform bill is the talk of the Capitol’s halls. A historic move was made by Senate leadership Monday to have the bill, SB 451, reported to the floor and be considered by “the committee as a whole” – meaning all 34 senators would consider the bill from the floor in the same manner as if it were still in committee.

We bring you another Friday Reporter Roundtable. Host Suzanne Higgins is joined by statehouse reporters to recap the week and look ahead to the next. We explore the massive education reform bill, the debate over legalizing cannabis in West Virginia, child welfare needs, and the latest on legislation related to an Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Frances Brundage / Wikimedia Commons

Front Porch hosts Scott Finn, Laurie Lin, and Rick Wilson tell us which stories they'll be following in 2017:

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

While Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's legislative proposals this session focus largely on the budget, it will be legislators who make the final decisions on what gets approved.  And members of both the House and the Senate have some pretty big issues they want brought to the table.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Liz McCormick reports from the State Capitol where lawmakers discussed two contentious issues from the session earlier this year -- forced pooling in natural gas drilling and charter
 schools.

That story on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting -- telling West Virginia's story.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Two bills that both died on the final night of the 2015 legislative session, resurfaced Monday during interim meetings - forced pooling and public charter schools. Both ideas erupted in debate in 2015, but Monday’s discussions were calm and reflective – but not without some concerns.

The separate discussions Monday on forced pooling and charter schools were mostly on how to make these controversial pieces of legislation work for lawmakers and interested parties on both sides of the issues.

West Virginia State Capitol
davidwilson1949 / wikimedia Commons

This 82nd Legislature passed a slew of bills, but on the last day of the Legislative session, several big bills were still in limbo. Here's what happened to five of them:

BONUS: Forced pooling (HB 2688).

This bill would have required certain mineral rights owners to sell to oil and gas drillers if 80 percent of surrounding owners sold. After passionate debate over property rights, the bill failed on a bi-partisan vote, 49-49, in the shocker of the last day of the session.

Public Hearing Held on Charter Schools

Mar 11, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll bring you the latest developments in the Senate and the House, including a public hearing that was held yesterday on Charter Schools

House Passes Raw Milk Bill

Mar 10, 2015

At the legislature today, the pros and cons of consuming raw milk is debated in the House.  Senate Bill 30 passed overwhelmingly and heads back to the Senate to consider House changes to the bill.  In the Senate there’s more discussion about funding for state roads and another agreement for more study about that issue.  And we begin a two part series about ginseng. Could it become a leading cash crop? These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

Public Hearing to Be Held on Charter Schools Bill

Mar 9, 2015
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10 West Virginia Public Broadcasting will air the public hearing on SB 14, a bill that would create charter schools in the state. Coverage can be found on WVPB.2 as well as online. 

Senate Bill 14 was the focus of a lot of debate in the Senate and passed last Monday on a vote of 18 to 16.

Public Charter Schools still receive government and county funds, just like regular public schools, but charter schools would not be overseen by the county Board of Education. This in turn would give teachers at charter schools more flexibility in the way they deliver their curriculum, but they would still be subject to state education standards.

Gun Owners Want to Conceal Carry Without a Permit

Mar 5, 2015

At the legislature today, after the Senate worked on the Charter Schools bill for weeks during the session, the bill is now in the hands of the house which has just nine days to consider it.  We’ll have an update.  And the number of damage claims against the state for potholes are rising. What one lawmaker says can be done about the condition of West Virginias roads.  These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

The Charter Schools bill made its way into the House Wednesday. The House Education Committee debated the bill until almost midnight that night. It ultimately passed and will soon be on first reading in the full House.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate approved a bill Monday evening that allows for the creation or conversion of a public school to a public charter school in West Virginia.

A public charter school is a school that uses government funding, but is not overseen by the county Board of Education, giving the school's administrators and teachers more flexibility in how they deliver education. The schools, however, are subject to state education standards. 

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

An argument over parliamentary procedure Tuesday has Senate Democrats up in arms, accusing the Republican majority of disregarding the chamber’s standard rules of order.

The disagreement started Monday when Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler successfully killed Senate Bill 14, a bill to create charter schools in West Virginia, during a Finance Committee meeting. Kessler, who said he simply counted during the meeting that he had a Democratic majority in attendance, made a motion to postpone the bill indefinitely.

Kessler maintained such a motion, according to the Jeffersonian Rules of Order, prevents lawmakers from taking up the bill for the remainder of the session.

Senate Takes Back the Charter Schools Bill

Feb 24, 2015

At the legislature today, bills are read in their entirety on the Senate floor as Democrats retaliate for action on the charter schools bill.  In the House, the Judiciary committee begins to consider amendments to the Coal Mine Safety and Jobs Act.  And, we’ll get a first look at a new documentary about one of West Virginia’s most notable politicians on The Legislature Today.

Senate Finance Committee Kills Charter Schools Bill

Feb 23, 2015

At the legislature today, infrastructure development around Morgantown will be helped by a bill passing the House of Delegates.  The bill makes adjustments for a tax increment financing district in Monongalia County. The Senate approves a bill that will add judges to four of the busiest circuits in the state court system.  And tonight, we’ll find out more about an effort to strengthen small communities to keep them economically viable on The Legislature Today.

Senate Approves Non-Partisan Election of Judges

Feb 20, 2015

At the legislature today, with three weeks left in this session, the Senate suspended the constitutional rule that bills be read on three separate days to quickly move legislation to the house.  In the House, the Government Organization committee has rejected a bill that would give County Commissions the authority to pass smoking regulations.  These stories and more legislative news coming up on The Legislature Today. 

Senate Taking a Long Look at Charter Schools

Feb 13, 2015

At the legislature today, both chambers have started to move on Governor Tomblin's bill to aid the state's craft brewing industry. In the House, the bill received some minor changes in committee. Senators are still working to craft a bill that would allow charter schools in West Virginia weeks after the process began. And we'll talk with the senate president now that the session is passed the halfway point on The Legislature Today.