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W.Va. Senate passes charter schools measure

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After nearly two hours of debate, the state Senate passed a bill that will enable public charter schools in West Virginia. The vote fell exactly along party lines, 18-16.

Charter schools draw public funds from county-run schools, as the money follows the student. Students are chosen by a “lottery” method in typical charter schools; however, Democrats on the Committee on Education were able to amend the bill so that every student is “opted in” to a charter school.

 The bill had several amendments, including allowing teachers to have PEIA, barring hate groups from establishing charter schools and eliminating a public charter school board of education. Public charter schools will be under the auspices of the State Board of Education.

Proponents of the bill says charter schools give parents a choice in their child’s education.

While Democrats were on the losing end of this vote, it didn’t stop them from voicing opposition to the bill in hopes of swaying a GOP vote.

Former chair of the Education Committee, Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, said he believes charter schools will ultimately become private institutions.

Plymale said schools in his district are using the Innovation Zone, a change to state education just enacted by the Legislature two years ago.

“We should be allowed to go through the process…


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