Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monagalia
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Legislative Lookahead: W.Va. Legislature likely to address teacher seniority issue during 2018 session

The Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia House Education Committee’s vice chairman expects a bill that would remove the statewide mandate that public school teachers with the least amount of seniority automatically lose their positions when job cuts are made in a particular teaching area to be considered in the impending legislative session.

Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia

Vice Chairman Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, also said he expects the revival of legislation that would allow families to put public funding toward private schooling and home schooling, though this “education savings accounts” legislation would be limited to just special education students this time. And he expects the resuscitation of a bill that would erase the state Department of Education and the Arts and divide its agencies into other departments.

Statler said he hopes to turn a state principals academy over to the state Department of Education, which is separate from the Department of Education and the Arts.

Statler made the comments during and after a W.Va. Press Association Legislative Lookahead education panel, in which he was joined by two Democratic delegates on his committee and a school employees union president, all of whom raised concerns over his ideas for reducing the mandated role of seniority and legalizing education savings accounts, which act like private school vouchers but can also go to homeschooling and other uses.

Moderator John Dahlia, NVWV business editor, standing, and, from left, Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers; Delegate Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha; Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia; and Delegate Robert Thompson, D-Wayne; discuss possible legislation that would impact education in West Virginia during the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Lookahead Friday, Jan. 5, in Charleston. West Virginia Press Association Photo

Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers’ Mountain State arm, expressed concern about vouchers and charter schools — the latter of which Statler predicted won’t be pursued — taking more money away from the public education system at a time when it needs more funding for things like increased teacher salaries.

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