Daily Legislative Update: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Com. Sub. for S. B. 51 requires an impact statement in certain instances of school closing or consolidation. The bill passed and has now completed legislative action.
*Both bills on second reading were advanced.
S. B. 99 relates to permitting boards of education to meet and explore the feasibility of consolidating school districts or sharing of services.
Com. Sub. for S. B. 688 allows BOE to hire retired teachers to assist with tutoring.
S. B. 625 requires certain transcripts to be accepted as record of student's performance for placement in micro school programs. The bill was advanced to second reading.
Com. Sub. for S. B. 667 requires periodic performance audits of WV Secondary Schools Athletic Commission. The bill was advanced to second reading.
S. B. 262 allows students to transfer schools and retain athletic eligibility. Not advanced, moved to the House (inactive) calendar.
The House will go back in session at 5 PM.
-House Education Committee
Comm Sub for SB 422, which was tabled yesterday in the committee, reappeared today. SB 422 requires public schools to publish curriculum online. The bill states curriculum and a syllabus (including any books used) must be posted on the county BOE website only at beginning of each new school year. After an hour and a half of discussion on the bill, the bill was advanced with minor amendments (which will not increase the work burden of teachers) and will be reported to the floor.
Eng. Com. Sub. for H. B. 3271 increases monitoring of special education classrooms by adding audio recording requirements in restrooms of self-contained classrooms, with a clause to allow parents to opt out for their child. The bill was advanced to second reading.
The Senate will go back in session at 4:30 PM.
Senate Education Committee
The biggest news out of Senate Education today was the insertion of SB 274 provisions that were stripped out of SB 274 in House Education yesterday (Third Grade Success Act) into HB 3035.
HB 3035 originally related generally to high-quality education programs and school operations. A strike and insert amendment offered by the committee stripped all language from HB 3035 and replaced it with the provisions of SB 274 and HB 3293. SB 274 was the Senate’s comprehensive education bill addressing early classroom teaching needs known as the Third Grade Success Act while HB 3293 established requirements for the state educational agency and local educational agencies to support students in the public school system who exhibit indicators of risk for, or who have been diagnosed with, dyslexia and dyscalculia. The bill passed the committee and moves to Senate Finance for consideration.
Other bills that advanced from the committee include:
HB 2989 calls for increasing the number of out-of-state medical students receiving in-state tuition rates who agree to practice for a specific time within West Virginia. This bill increases the number of out-of-state medical students receiving in-state tuition rates who agree to practice for a specific time within West Virginia from two to four program participants per medical school. HB 2989 moves to the floor for consideration.
HB 3224 adds West Virginia Junior College to the list of eligible institutions that accept PROMISE scholarship recipients. The bill passed the committee and now moves to Senate Finance.
HB 3369 creates a School Safety Unit within the Division of Protective Services. The main provision of this bill will establish a School Safety Unit within the Division of Protective Services. Officers shall be assigned to the School Safety Unit at the discretion of the director. The officers assigned to the School Safety Unit shall primarily be charged to make school safety inspections and to make recommendations to appropriate county school superintendents, principals, or other school administrators regarding school safety. The officers assigned to the School Safety Unit shall also be authorized to respond to and investigate all school safety matters, in consultation with county boards of education; provided, that any officer of the School Safety Unit shall have statewide jurisdiction and powers of general law enforcement and arrest for violations of law committed in their presence. The bill moves to the floor for consideration.
HB 3417 would include Potomac State College in the definition of community and technical college education program for participation in the “Learn and Earn Program.” This bill creates a three-year pilot program to include Potomac State College of West Virginia as an eligible institution for participation in the "Learn and Earn Program." The pilot program is to begin at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year and conclude at the end of the 2025-2026 academic year. The Council for Community and Technical Colleges at the conclusion of the pilot program would determine whether Potomac State College can continue to participate in the Learn and Earn Program. Based on the fiscal year 2023 budget for the system-wide Learn and Earn Program, the average expense per community college is $310,000. This would be the estimated cost per year of the pilot program at Potomac State College. If the program becomes permanent, additional administrative support would be required and is estimated at $75,000 per year. Thus, the post-pilot program would be estimated at $385,000 per year. HB 3417 passed the committee and moves to Senate Finance for consideration.
HB 3441 revises the training requirements for members of the Higher Education Policy Commission, Council for Community and Technical College Education and the institutional governing boards. HB 3441 passed the committee and moves to the floor for consideration.
HB 3555 relates to student purchase and refunds of course materials at higher education institutions. The purpose of this bill is to prohibit an institution from assessing a new or increased charge for required course materials to a student unless the institution allows the student to opt of the way the institution permits for the student to obtain the course materials and receive a refund for course materials already purchased. New language states that institutions may work with booksellers, publishers, or other third parties to offer a courseware and book fee at a lump sum or per credit hour amount, provided that an opt-out option is offered to students in advance of the start of each academic term. HB 3555 passed the committee and moves to the floor for consideration.