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West Virginia Senate President sponsors charter school bill


The Register-Herald

Senate President Mitch Carmichael

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that seeks to establish specialized public charter schools was introduced in the West Virginia Senate Wednesday.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 304, under which, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, up to two public charter schools may be authorized in the state. The state school board has the authority to increase the number of public charter schools that may be authorized.

Two or more county school boards would collaborate to oversee a regional public charter school located within one of such counties. The bill itself doesn’t specifically mention STEM schools, but Carmichael said his goal for the bill is to have charter schools dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math.

“This would be in collaboration with institutions of higher ed so they can participate in the enabling of that school,” Carmichael said. “This would give flexibility to those who want to pursue that avenue of education. This would be specialized charter schools that would focus on those STEM areas of learning. We can all agree areas for enhanced learning for great career paths and those who have a particular aptitude can participate in such an institution.”

In the Legislative Lookahead, Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, said he didn’t see much of an appetite for charter schools in the House but did anticipate having legislation dealing with educational savings accounts geared toward special needs students.

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