Statement from AFT-WV President Fred Albert on ruling July 6, 2022 by Judge Tabit on the Hope Scholarships:
“AFT-West Virginia is pleased that Judge Tabit granted the plaintiff’s request for an injunction to put a hold on the Hope Scholarship program. Judge Tabit’s ruling that “the Legislature has violated its constitutional level obligations regarding public education and funding by enacting House Bill 2013 for the Hope scholarship fund” aligns with our organization’s belief that public funds should be used for the benefit of public schools and the
AFT-WV is disappointed that, once again, the Governor has misrepresented our position regarding school re-entry metrics. The 5% positivity rate is only one of six necessary factors in the AFT’s guidance document, A Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities. The Governor continues to cherry-pick the portions of AFT’s public health guidance document to suit his own agenda. ICU capacity rates and a decline in new cases are also part of AFT’s metric recommendations, but you won’t hear him talking about those factors as they don’t fit his narrative.
Over the past several weeks, AFT-WV leadership has been consulting with our legal team to explore various ways to address the school-related COVID concerns of our members. Our in-house attorney and outside counsel have been researching case law and collaborating on possible avenues for intervention and action, both on the state and local levels.
AFT-WV attorneys have spent countless hours researching the statewide legal action on the color-coded map. In the two Kanawha County cases heard so far, both Judge Kaufman and Judge Tabit dismissed the mandamus, prohibition, and declaratory judgement.
The Map of Many Colors: As mentioned in the previous legal update, the AFT-WV legal team has spent countless hours researching and evaluating statewide legal options to address the ever-changing color-coded map. In the two Kanawha County cases heard so far, both Judge Kaufman and Judge Tabit dismissed the mandamus, prohibition, and declaratory judgement. These claims, one brought by a parent and a second brought by a student, have provided a road map to undermine most, if not all, future claims. Although we strongly disagree with how the Governor has
After reviewing the Circuit Court decision issued last Friday by Judge Carrie Webster on the legality of the color-coded school map, it appears the Court basically affirmed AFT-WV’s legal opinion that the Governor has the constitutional authority to implement these measures during a state of emergency. This ruling supports AFT-WV’s initial strategy to seek relief for our members at the local level. After meeting with local presidents, surveying members and speaking at county boards of education, the grievance procedure has been initiated in several counties to address COVID-related health and
AFT-WV’s initial strategy to seek relief for our members at the local level via the grievance procedure continues. After the Circuit Court basically affirmed our legal opinion that the Governor has the constitutional authority to implement safety measures via the color-coded school map during a state of emergency, we have sought to remedy various COVID-19 related concerns using this venue.
The quick resolution of the first three grievances filed in Kanawha County (all to the members’ satisfaction by lowering class sizes to permit social distancing) has led AFT-WV to continue to utilize the