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Tomblin education bill vetoes evoke reaction

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Lawmakers and education leaders alike said Saturday that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of a bill that would allow accrued minutes to grow into instructional days is “a slap in the face.”

Delegate George “Boogie” Ambler, R-Greenbrier, said HB 4171 was “the one thing teachers saw as something that the legislature was doing to help with education.”

Ambler said the bill, which also set hard and fast dates for school to begin and end — no earlier than Aug. 10 and no later than June 10 — allowed for teachers to have summer jobs and for parents to plan for family vacations. The bill eliminated the 180-day instructional day mandate, as well.

“With proper planning, a county school system should be able to achieve 180 separate days of instruction without encroaching on summer vacation to a great degree,” Tomblin’s veto message said. “To be college and career ready, West Virginia’s students need to be in the classroom receiving instruction and learning for at least 180 separate days a year — even if this means making up lost time due to weather or emergencies.”

Ambler, who teaches 11th- and 12th-grade American government, civics and economics at Greenbrier East High School, said fewer than 5 percent of the state’s students go to school all 180 days…

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