Saturday Showdown: We need you at the Capitol!

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‼️Omnibus 2.0: Saturday showdown

Below is an outline of the current Senate draft of the Omnibus 2.0. While there is a possibility of changes within the Senate, or changes when the bill reaches the House, the bill--as it stands now-- would strike a devastating blow to employment protections and proposes even more charter schools than the original Omnibus bill.  The Senate plans to convene Saturday, June 1st to take up the bill.

What we need you to do:

  • Call your Senator and ask them NOT to suspend the rules.
  • Come to Charleston! We need all hands on deck at the Capitol on Saturday! Plan to arrive at 9:00 AM; the Senate plans to gavel in at 10:00 AM. Wear your AFT or 55 Strong shirts and bring signs!
  • In case you missed it, Senate President Carmichael held a press conference this morning. He was visibly angry during much of the conference (click to watch at https://www.pscp.tv/w/1MnxnvnoQWMxO ) which may indicate the continued pressure from our membership is working. Keep up the pressure and bring even more on Saturday!

 

Bill Outline:

  • Levy Rates (§11-8-6f)
    • Regular levy rates may be increased upon a majority vote of the county.
  • Education Expenses Tax Credit (§11-21-25)
    • Establishes a $250 tax credit for expenses incurred for the purchase of supplementary education materials or professional development costs for teachers and other personnel employed by a public or private school.
  • Mountaineer Challenge Academy (§15-1B-24)
    • Requires the Governor to expand the capacity of the Mountaineer Challenge Academy location in Preston County to allow for 600 cadets per year.
    • Requires the Governor to expand the Mountaineer Challenge Academy to a 2nd location in Fayette County.
    • Requires the Governor to pursue an amendment to the agreement entered into with the U.S. Secretary of Defense if necessary to accomplish the expansion and to maximize the use of federal funds.
  • Student Success Act title (§18-1-5)
    • Provides that the act is to be known as the Student Success Act.
  • Mountain State Digital Literacy Project (§18-2E-12)
    • Requires the State Board to implement a pilot project in which participating schools are provided with instructional resources that feature an extensive curriculum related to digital literacy and internet safety and administrators and teachers are provided access to online digital literacy related professional development and support.
  • Professional development/principals academy (§18-2I-4)
    • Provides that all professional development provided to classroom teachers should be individualized at the school level.
    • Requires that prior to July 1, 2020, every teacher in the state receive professional development on addressing the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.
    • Requires the State Board to establish the “Principals Academy” based on language slightly modified from what code used to require the CPD to do.
  • Open Enrollment (§18-5-16 & 16a)
    • Requires a county board to establish and implement an open enrollment policy without charging tuition and without obtaining approval from the board of the county in which a student resides.
  • Class Sizes (§18-5-18a)
    • Requires the WVDE to survey districts to determine those grade levels, content areas, and geographic locations where class overcrowding is impeding student achievement and report to the Legislature by January 1, 2020 a tailored plan for reducing class overcrowding in such areas.
  • Counselors’ Time Devoted to Primary Task (§18-5-18b)
    • Requires that school counselors spend 80% (instead of 75%) of their work time in a direct counseling relationship w/ pupils and spend no more than 20% of their time on administrative activities.
  • Collaboration time for staff (§18-5-45)
    • Makes changes that give schools and districts more operational flexibility to design their instructional day.
    • Removes the required number of instructional minutes per day from code, and instead requires instruction to be offered to students for at least an average of five hours per day throughout the instructional term.
  • Work Stoppage Measures (§18-5-45a, §18A-5-2) The is the first of several retaliatory provisions in the Omnibus 2.0 bill, and directly contradicts the Senate’s position for local decision making in education.
  • Prohibits use of the five hour per day average of instructional time and the delivery of instruction through alternative methods from being used to cancel days lost due to a concerted work stoppage.
  • Requires a county board to withhold the pay of the employees for each day that the school is closed due to a work stoppage or strike, but requires that the county board apply the withheld pay to employees who subsequently fulfill their assigned duties for the instructional term and employment term.
  • Provides that if an originally scheduled instructional day is canceled due to a concerted work stoppage or strike by the employees assigned to a school, the school for with the day was canceled cannot participate in any extracurricular activities during any part of that same day.
  • Teacher Recommendation Primary Consideration for Student Promotion (§18-5-46)
    • Provides that the teacher’s recommendation shall be the primary consideration for student promotion.
  • Innovation in Education (§18-5E-1 et seq.)
    • Removes requirement that Innovation in Education school have a principal focus in either STEM, community school partnership, entrepreneurship, career pathways, or the arts.
    • Strikes through provisions required to be included in the Innovation in Education application and plan.
    • Gives the county board instead of the State Board the authority to designate schools as Innovation in Education schools. Schools can appeal to the State Board any determination made by the county board pursuant to the article.
  • Public Charter Schools (§18-5G-1 et seq., §5-16-2, §5-16-22, §18-7A-3, §18-7B-2, §18-20-5, §29-12-5a) Despite a lack of public outcry for charter schools by the citizens in this state, the Senate leadership continues to push for charter schools that will defund our public schools.
  • Authorizers include:
    • County boards unless they elect to not be an authorizer.
    • Accredited public institutions of higher education (limited to four charter schools statewide).
    • The State Board for counties that elect to not be an authorizer.
  • Provides for appeals to the State Board concerning denials of a charter application, charter contract nonrenewals, and charter contract revocations.
  • Requires the State Board to promulgate rules allowing the Schools for the Deaf and Blind to apply for public charter school status; and which facilitate the creation of two youth programs as charter schools for school dropouts that are modeled after the Mountaineer Challenge Academy.
  • Truancy Measures (§18-8-4, §18-9A-2)
    • Requires, after both 3 and 5 unexcused absences, that the attendance director, assistant, or principal make meaningful contact with the parent or guardian of the student to ascertain the reasons for the unexcused absences and what measures the school may employ to assist the student in attending and not incurring any additional unexcused absences (as opposed to written notice).
  • Includes professional personnel addressing chronic absenteeism in in the definition of “professional student support personnel” who are funded under Step 5.
  • Wrap Around Support Services / Step 5 Funding Increase (§§18-9A-2, 18-9A-8)
    • Includes social workers and psychologists in the definition of “professional student support personnel” to provide direct social and emotional support services to students.
    • The school aid formula is changed so that each county’s allowance for professional student support personnel is funded at 4.70 positions per 1,000 students in net enrollment.
  • Net enrollment for counties below 1,400 (§18-9A-2)
    • Revises method of assisting counties with net enrollment below 1,400 by increasing the adjusted net enrollment used to calculate those counties’ basic foundation program under existing code by 10% (Cost for FY 19-20: $5,344,155).
  • Levy rate for local share purposes (§18-9A-2)
    • Decreases percentage of levy rate used to calculate local share from 90% to 85% (Cost for FY 19-20: $17,772,839).
  • Current Expense Step 6a Funding Increase (§18-9A-9)
    • Increases the percentage of each county’s allowance for current expenses from 70.25% to 71.25% of the county’s state average costs per square footage per student for operations and maintenance amount.
  • Block grant (§18-9A-19)
    • Requires each county board receive its total basic state aid allowance in the form of block grants which are exempt from certain expenditure requirements and limitations.
  • Transparency – Searchable budget database and website (§18-9B-22)
    • Requires the state superintendent to provide the State Auditor with the required data for use by the searchable budget data website.
  • Salary Increase for Teachers and School Service Personnel (§18A-4-2, §18A-4-8a) Senate President Mitch Carmichael has public discussed delaying the implementation of the pay increases until next year. If this occurs, it would further demonstrate a lack of serious effort by the Senate leadership to address the critical shortages of teachers and service personnel to staff our schools.
    • The increase for teachers is $2,120 annually.
    • The increase for school service personnel is approximately $115 per month.
  • Increased Annual Compensation for Math and Special Education Teachers (§18A-4- 2)   While we recognize there are critical shortages in these content areas, this proposal will only cause resentment and result in shortages in other content areas. The compensation level of all education employees must be substantially increased in order to address teacher and service personnel shortages in our state; we need a long-term strategy to address increasing salaries to a competitive level.
    • Gives a three-step pay bump to certain math and special education teachers (Cost for FY 19-20: $6,229,612 for special education portion).
  • Elimination of Equity Pay (§18A-4-5) This creates an avenue for disparity to grow between the “have” and “have not” counties, and will lead to disparate educational opportunities for WV’s students, based on where they reside.
    • Removes the prohibition on the pay differential between similar teachers from being greater than a 10% difference in salary provisions of the equity formula.
  • County Pay Supplement Flexibility (§18A-4-5a)
    • Allows counties to provide additional compensation for teachers fully certified and assigned in critical need and shortage areas, remote geographical areas or with high turnover rates, and teachers who in addition to teaching serve as master teachers, mentors or academic coaches etc., to assist others to improve their professional practice.
  • Qualifications for Employment, Promotion, Transfer, and RIF (§18A-4-7a) These provisions remove long-standing seniority protections that prevent nepotism and cronyism in employment practices. These proposed provisions erode the seniority rights of employees more than the proposals in the original Omnibus Bill.
    • Allows counties to consider multiple qualifications during a RIF process, not just seniority. Includes the same qualifications considered during the hiring process.
    • Amends provisions relating to providing notice of position openings to professional personnel on the preferred recall list to make the notice requirements less burdensome on the county boards.
    • Requires all charter school personnel accrue seniority for the purposes of employment in noncharter public schools.
  • Bonus for Unused Sick Leave and Personal Leave Flexibility (§18A-4-10)
    • Provides classroom teachers who have not utilized more than 4 days of any leave during the 200-day employment term a $500 bonus at the end of the year.
    • Increases the number of personal days from 3 to 4.
  • Underwood-Smith Modifications (§18C-4-1 et seq.) Creates the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program for the purpose of giving scholarships to individuals who agree to teach in a critical teacher shortage field for at least five consecutive years for the four academic years in which the scholarship was received.
  • Teacher Education Loan Repayment Program (§18C-4A-1 et seq.)
    • Changes the name of the Underwood-Smith Teacher Assistance Loan Program to the Teacher Education Loan Repayment Program.
    • To be eligible for a loan repayment award, an applicant must agree to be employed full time under contract with a county board for two school years as a teacher in a critical teacher shortage field or as a school counselor in a school or geographic area of critical need for such field for each year for which a loan repayment assistance award is received.
  • BRIM Coverage for Teachers (§29-12-5a) This provision is a veiled attack on unions and an attempt to convince employees that the state’s BRIM liability coverage will protect them. It fails to mention that BRIM’s insurance coverage is intended to protect the county board or state agency, not necessarily the individual employee.
    • Increases the per occurrence coverage from $1m to $1.25m.
    • Requires county boards to annually provide notice of insurance coverage to each of its insureds