TWO WEBSTER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI RECEIVE ANITA HESS-PUGH FUTURE EDUCATOR SCHOLARSHIP

Two Webster County High School alumni have been awarded the Anita Hess-Pugh Future Educator Scholarship. WCHS Class of 2019 graduate Tanya Hammons and WCHS Class of 2014 and West Virginia University Class of 2019 graduate Samantha Stout received the scholarships at WCHS’ annual senior awards day. The scholarship, managed and endowed by the Webster County Education Association, will provide Hammons and Stout each with a $500 scholarship.

Read moreTWO WEBSTER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI RECEIVE ANITA HESS-PUGH FUTURE EDUCATOR SCHOLARSHIP

Legislative Update: Jan. 19

Rumors, Funding, & Data
Your help is needed! Over the weekend and early next week, we need you to talk to your legislators and urge them to oppose an omnibus education bill and run separate bills on each of the items. See more about the omnibus bill rumors below.

This Week’s Major Hubbub:

Before we begin, we must discuss the events this week where freshman delegate from our district, Caleb Hanna co-sponsored a bill to allocate approximately $10 million of state funds to the federal government to build President Trump’s Mexican border wall. Let’s be clear that such a bill is unequivocally unconstitutional under the West Virginia Constitution. The West Virginia Constitution states in Article 10, Section 5 that: “The power of taxation of the Legislature shall extend to provisions for the payment of the state debt, and interest thereon, the support of free schools, and the payment of the annual estimated expenses of the state; but whenever any deficiency in the revenue shall exist in any year, it shall, at the regular session thereof held next after the deficiency occurs, levy a tax for the ensuing year, sufficient with the other sources of income, to meet such deficiency, as well as the estimated expenses of such year.” Essentially the Legislature can only levy taxes and appropriate revenue from such taxes to pay for state debt and interest, fund public schools, and pay the annual estimated expenses in the state budget. Other sections of the state constitution give the Legislature the authority to appropriate money and levy taxes to maximize federal matching grants for public projects within the state and to allocate monies to political subdivisions within the state. Bottom line is that this bill will die a quiet death like so many other ridiculous bills. Unfortunately the fact that Hanna represents our district casts a shadow over us. 

Many people have been asking why Hanna would sign on to sponsor such a ridiculous piece of legislation when the state has so many pressing needs related to education, road maintenance, economic development, addiction treatment, job training, foster care, and more. You will have to ask him for yourself. Hanna has not made any public statements since this proposed legislation was first reported by MetroNews and the Charleston Gazette. His capitol office phone is: (304) 340-3916; his legislative email is: caleb.hanna@wvhouse.gov; and his office is located in Room 220E (east wing) of the capitol. 

Omnibus Education Bill Rumors Swirling:

A rumor picking up steam in the Senate is that leadership will introduce soon and ram through an omnibus bill trying to divide teachers, service personnel, parents, administrators, and community members in an attempt to kill off public education. First of all, an omnibus bill is a bill that contains a variety of issues and subjects. While these are common at the federal level, they are unconstitutional according to the state constitution when done at the state level. Article VI; Section 30 of the West Virginia Constitution clearly states that “no act hereafter passed shall embrace more than one object…” The WV Supreme Court has upheld that requirement in a number of their decisions.

Speculation is that the senate leadership will put a 5% pay raise and PEIA funding into the omnibus bill along with provisions allowing charter schools, eliminating seniority, allowing vouchers, education savings accounts, and privatization. Their hope is that by linking pay and PEIA to charter schools, seniority, etc., they will be able to divide all the eduction constituent groups and force moderate legislators to vote for it. Tell your Senators that an omnibus bill is wrong, and that legislation needs to be considered separately and passed on its own worthiness. Ask your delegates to oppose an omnibus bill and if one is delivered to them by the Senate to break it up and vote on each measure separately.

Just a refresher: education savings accounts are not like the SMART 529 program that many people use to save for their child’s college education. Education savings accounts would model the failed Arizona model where parents of students with special needs and IEPs would be allowed to pull their kid out of public school and receive the sum of the money that the county school district would receive to educate that child: approximately $7000. The parent would then be allowed to spend that money as they saw fit to educate their child with little to no oversight. 

Charter schools suck public school money and throw it to private schools and private, corporately-owned charter school companies to operate schools within counties. Charter schools routinely engage in de facto discrimination by not allowing students with disabilities, behavior problems, etc. to enroll. They also drain resources from the public school district in which they are located and they have been subject to a variety of frauds. Recently, WCHS purchased at a surplus auction some computer furniture and desks from a charter school in Akron, Ohio that was forced to liquidate due to a fraud investigation that found the school was enrolling students who didn’t exist, keeping graduated and transferred students on their rolls, and more to siphon more state and district tax dollars. That is one of the smaller cases of fraud that has encircled charter schools recently. Plus, numerous studies have shown that charter schools at best show no improvement on academic outcomes and at worst, decrease academic outcomes for students compared to public schools. 

State Aid Formula Revisions:The funding formula that provides most of the money for the operation of our public schools had not significantly changed in the last 30 years. Yet, the needs of our schools have drastically changed and the cost of everything associated with educating our students has gone up.From iPads to HVAC systems, the cost of providing a thorough and efficient education for our children has drastically changed. Couple rising costs with the societal issues that now exist in our schools and our system is stretched past its limits.The need for smaller classes; more aides, counselors, nurses and psychologists; alternative learning centers; etc. all require additional funding in the school aid formula.Yet at the same time we are in need of more funding to better serve our students; the percentage of the state budget devoted to education is at an all-time low. Money to our public schools comprised 54% of the state budget in the mid-90s. Today that figure is 42%.Over the last decade the state has given back $528 million through reduced taxes – mostly for businesses. And they are still proposing a repeal of the ‘inventory’ tax which is another $130-$140 million reduction in state revenue.Taxes on businesses are a very small cost of their overhead and it pays for public services that manufactures need such as schools, roads and public safety.The repeal of the inventory tax without a replacement revenue source will lead to loss of revenue for our public schools and local governments. It will cause cutbacks in services and harm our students.The tax breaks already given to businesses throughout the years simply shifts the burden of paying for our government to individuals. Personal income taxes account for 42% of the governor’s proposed budget. Together, the B&O tax, corporate net income tax and severance taxes account for only 13% of the state’s budget.WVEA opposed the repeal of the Business Inventory Tax and supports additional funding to our public schools to adequately provide for the needs of our students.

Data:

State Superintendent Steve Paine presented a data report to the House Education Committee that showed some positives for students and educators. Some of the highlights include:

WV is 1st in the nation in students who participate in breakfast at school

WV is 17th in the nation per capita in the percentage of Nationally Board Certified Teachers

WV is in the top 5 in the nation in our graduation rate. We are now at 90.2%

WV’s lower income students are scoring in the top 10 nationally when compared to similarly situated students in other states

Dr. Paine touched on our student’s perceived low scores on national tests. Paine stated that one of the stronger influences on student test scores is the academic attainment of the parents. WV ranks 50th in the nation inthe percentage of adults age 25-65 with a bachelor’s degree.

Dr. Paine also explained the priorities of the WVDE:

To increase math scores and the overall achievement for students of all grades

To lower the absent rates of students

To fund computer science courses in all high schools. This would make WV the first state in the nation to do so.

To support workforce readiness programs

To look at alternative education programs/options for elementary students

Education Bills Moving:

HB 2128 passed the House and is headed to the Senate. The bill allows state employees to be able to take paid leave to attend parent/teacher conferences. The bill’s sponsor is Delegate Caputo and it was his intent to have the bill apply to education employees also, but education employees are classified as county employees. Delegate Caputo will urge the Senate to make an amendment to the bill once it is taken up in committee in order to clarify his intent.

HB 2095 would allow 12th grade students in transitional program classes to take periodic exams to measure progress and eliminates the need to take an end of the year test again. It would allow colleges to look at these other tests and factors to determine the need for remedial courses. It is on the House floor.

HB 2378 would cause a teacher to lose their license if convicted of a crime that would require them to file as a sex offender. A sub-committee was created to discuss this bill. All further action on the bill has been postponed until the House Education Committee meeting Wednesday, January 23. Sub-committee members include Steve Westfall, Matthew Rohrbach, Jeff Campbell, Ed Evans, John R. Kelly, Chris Toney, Robert Thompson and Lisa Zukoff.

HB 2145 is the governor’s bill on teaching computer science in all state high schools. The bill would go into effect in the 2021 school year. The bill passed House Education and heads to House Finance.

SB 1 is the free tuition for community and technical college students. SB 1 is supported by the Governor and Senator Carmichael and has an estimated cost of $7 million. The bill is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate Finance committee.

HB 2422 is the Celebrate Freedom Bill passed last year. Last year’s bill required educators teach the constitution during the week of September 11th. 2422 would still require the constitution be taught but give educators flexibility on when they decide to teach it. Delegate Hornbuckle also moved to amend the bill to include the emancipation proclamation as one of the historical texts taught during this time. Both the amendment and the bill passed the committee.

Keep Updated:

WCEA keeps a bill tracking list of education-related bills available through the Legislature’s website. This allows our members to read bills for themselves and keep tabs on things as they move through the process. 

Log in here. 
The username is: jmknotts
The password is wceamember

The list name is K12Education and please don’t modify things on it. 

Make sure you also follow WVEA Lobbyline. Lobbyline is updated nightly with a recap of the day’s events. 

You can also check out the WVEA’s weekly Legislative Update.

Please start contacting our legislators to let them know that we support and desperately need increased school funding, competitive pay and benefits, and a fix for PEIA. Let them know that we strongly oppose charter schools, vouchers, education savings accounts, eliminating seniority, and other things that detrimentally affect our kids. 

Senator Bill Hamilton:
bill.hamilton@wvsenate.gov
Room 223W (west wing)
Office Phone: (304) 357-7906
Home Phone: (304) 472-1966
Mobile: (304) 439-5261

Senator Greg Boso:
greg.boso@wvsenate.gov
Room 217W (west wing)
Office Phone: (304) 357-7973
Home Phone: (304) 872-1308
Business Phone: (304) 872-2911

Delegate Caleb Hanna:
Education Committee Member
caleb.hanna@wvhouse.gov
Room 220E (east wing)
Office Phone: (304) 340-3916

Looking Ahead at the Legislative Session

The 2019 Regular Legislative Session begins on Wednesday. That evening the governor will also present his State of the State address and proposed budget. To be perfectly honest, this will be another challenging legislative session. Many lawmakers in the majority and majority leadership are looking for some payback for last year’s strike. They have already announced they plan to introduce legislation that will weaken public education and harm some of our most vulnerable students. Through Senate President Mitch Carmichael’s appointment of Senator Patricia Rucker as the chair of the education committee, Senate leadership has also shown that they plan to waste no time in trying to ram these misguided and flat-out disastrous proposals through. 

In addition to fighting bad policy, we must also keep lawmakers’ feet to the fire to make good on their promises from the strike to find a dedicated, long-term funding solution to PEIA, improve educator salary and benefits, and increase funding for public education. 

This legislative session, it is critical that you stay informed about what’s happening in Charleston regarding public education. There will be times when WVEA leaders issue calls to action when bad bills start to move or when good bills stall. We must answer those calls to action by telephoning our lawmakers, emailing them, and even personally visiting them at the capitol if need be. 

It’s also critical that we are all informed with accurate information. Be wary of information that comes from non-reliable sources or hearsay on social media. For accurate information, check WVEA’s Lobbyline. Lobbyline is a daily briefing of the day’s events in the legislature regarding public education. It is posted nightly during the regular session. WVEA also publishes a weekly legislative update that can be found on their main website.

You can also sign up for text/SMS alerts and critical email blasts through WVEA. WVEA is active on social media and uses the medium to post breaking or important news. “Like” WVEA on Facebook and follow WVEA on Instagram and YouTube. Then share WVEA’s posts with your social media network to help spread the word. WCEA will also post regular legislative and policy briefings on their website and Facebook as well. 

In December, members of the WCEA Executive Committee and affiliated PAC Steering Committee met with our local legislators to talk about public education issues specific to Webster County. We spoke for over two-hours with State Senator Bill Hamilton and Delegate Caleb Hanna. It was made clear that Webster County educators will be watching their votes and policy actions closely and expect their full support for public education. Both lawmakers expressed support to find long-term funding solutions for PEIA, increasing salaries, allowing all employees regardless of hiring date to be able to use accrued sick days for PEIA at retirement and years of service, opposing vouchers and charter schools, increasing funding for school-based social support and mental health services, and more. Some of the local-specific items discussed included:
– Recruitment and retention issues for educators in sparsely populated counties like ours. Providing additional incentives like moving assistance, housing down-payment assistance, etc. and things that are similar to the private sector and federal agencies.
– Increasing opportunities for at-risk students at programs like Mountaineer Challenge Academy.
– Need for additional alternative education programs and resources at the middle and elementary school levels.
– Students being pulled from public school for homeschool to escape truancy or legal issues.
– Opposing the Tim Tebow Bill that would allow homeschooled students to participate in school-sanctioned sports.
– The many facilities issues in our county from the need for an auxiliary gym at the high school, HVAC concerns countywide, major renovations needed at Glade, safety upgrades at Webster Springs, and more.
– The desperate need we have for social workers and mental health help for our students.
– Funding to provide more CTE programs and opportunities.
– Funding state-mandated CTE co-curricular student organizations.
– Decreasing the local share of the state aid formula which leaves sparsely populated counties like ours with less local money to supplement services beyond state minimum levels.
– The need for Prevention Resource Officers at all schools.
– Keeping extra and co-curricular programs such as CCLC, GEAR UP, etc. once those grants expire.
– Ensuring available funding so students and parents don’t have to pay the tuition cost for dual credit and AP courses out-of-pocket. Webster County is one out of only two counties statewide that fully fund student dual credit and AP tuition costs.
– Fixing issues regarding ECCAT seniority. 
– Lowering class sizes across the board. Many core academic course sections at the high school have 35 or more students. There are also several elementary classes that are at maximum capacity. 

Senator Hamilton and Delegate Hanna encouraged all educators to keep the lines of communication open with him and to let them know your thoughts on bills that begin moving throughout the session. Senator Hamilton said the best way to contact him is to call his capitol office and leave a message saying your name, phone number, that you live/work in Webster County and are an educator, and your issue.  He said he hasn’t been assigned a senate wing office or phone number yet, but will pass it along as soon as he knows.

Delegate Hanna also said to call his capitol office and that as soon as he is assigned an office phone number that he will pass it along. Both also said they will be reachable on email as soon as their legislative emails are assigned.


TWO WEBSTER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS RECEIVE ANITA HESS-PUGH FUTURE EDUCATOR SCHOLARSHIP

A Cowen student and Erbacon student have received the Anita Hess-Pugh Future Educator Scholarship. Webster County High School seniors Brieanna Wayne and Mathias Palmer received the award at WCHS’ annual senior awards day. The scholarship, managed and endowed by the Webster County Education Association, will provide Wayne and Palmer each with a $500 scholarship.

Read moreTWO WEBSTER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS RECEIVE ANITA HESS-PUGH FUTURE EDUCATOR SCHOLARSHIP

Legislative Update – Jan. 14, 2018: The Latest from the Bad Idea Factory

Remember to join us for the Save Public Education Rally on Monday, January 15th at noon on the river side steps of the Capitol. With all of the bad ideas coming out of Charleston, merely complaining on social media, to your colleagues, and continuing to sit on your couch won’t do anything. Change requires collective and continuous action.

As the legislative session gets underway in earnest, the Capitol is beginning to live up to, as Delegate Mike Pushkin calls it, ‘The Bad Idea Factory.’ With that in mind, here is what’s happening that impacts teachers, schools, and students:

Read moreLegislative Update – Jan. 14, 2018: The Latest from the Bad Idea Factory

Proposed Changes to Policy 2510 Would Cheapen the Value of West Virginia High School Diplomas

Major changes have been proposed to Policy 2510 that could dramatically reshape middle and high schools in across the state.

The biggest changes include reducing from 24 to 21 credits a student needs to graduate high school, requiring only three social studies credits to graduate, and changing the non-weighted course grading scale to 90-100 for an A, 80-89 for a B, etc.

The changes could potentially allow high school students to graduate at the end of their junior year and lead some counties to reduce the number of teachers and service personnel.

Read moreProposed Changes to Policy 2510 Would Cheapen the Value of West Virginia High School Diplomas

2017-2018 School Calendar Hearings Announced

The following was posted on the Webster County Board of Education’s webpage. As of Saturday, April 1st, faculty and staff in various WCBOE schools have not seen the proposed 2017-2018 school calendars.

The Webster County Board of Education will be conducting public hearings for the proposed 2017-2018 school calendar.  The hearings will be open to the public and will be held at the Webster County Board of Education Office Building, 315 South Main Street, Webster Springs, WV, on Monday, April 10, 2017 and Monday, April 24, 2017, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Those individuals wishing to speak must be present and register to address the board at least 15 minutes prior to the meeting.

Anita Hess-Pugh Future Educators Scholarship Applications Available

Seniors at Webster County High School can apply for the 2017 Anita Hess-Pugh Future Educators Scholarship. Application forms are available from the counselor or can be downloaded on our webpage. Application forms and all supporting materials are due April 1st.

An update on our past scholarship recipients:

Taylor Anderson (2015) is finishing her sophomore year at Fairmont State University and is majoring in elementary education. Taylor is also the first sophomore that has ever been named as a resident supervisor for FSU’s residence halls.

Valaree Brown (2015) is finishing her sophomore year at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Valaree is currently majoring in graphic arts and design and is a member of the WVWC Cheerleading squad.

Dorothy Davis (2016) is a freshman at Glenville State College. Dorothy is majoring in secondary education with a focus on middle school English/Language Arts. Dorothy is planning to take her Praxis Core test later this spring/summer.

Kara Lewis (2016) is a freshman at Fairmont State University. Kara is majoring in elementary education and plans to focus on early elementary education. Kara is also planning to take her Praxis Core test later this spring/summer.

Here is the latest on the Betsy DeVos nomination:

We are currently 1 vote short in the Senate of having the votes necessary to stop the DeVos nomination. A few Republican senators are considered to be the deciding vote and Senator Capito is one of the names on that short list.

Even though Senator Capito has said she will support DeVos, she is rumored to be reconsidering due to the huge volume of phone calls and emails to her about the nomination.

If she is reconsidering her position on DeVos, it is because of your calls and emails. On Thursday her office received over 2,700 phone calls regarding DeVos. Thank you to those who have been contacting her office!

On Monday, February 6 at noon the debate will begin in the full Senate on the DeVos nomination with the actual vote expected to be on Tuesday afternoon.

We have a few more days to try and convince Senator Capito that Betsy DeVos is unqualified to lead the Department of Education and urge her to vote against the nomination.

Please continue to call and email Senator Capito regarding the DeVos nomination. Senator Capito could be the deciding vote on the Betsy DeVos nomination.

 

Contact information for Senator Capito:

Phone numbers – 202.224.6472 or 304.347.5372 or 304.262.9285 or 304.292.2310

Email – https://www.capito.senate.gov/contact/contact-shelley

Letter – http://edadvocacy.nea.org/nea/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=264253

Fax – (202) 224-7665

Don’t give up! Keep the calls and emails going through Tuesday.

 

Here are a few talking points:

  • Capito has stated she will vote for the nominees unless they are considered unqualified. Anyone who objectively looks at the resume of Betsy DeVos realizes she is unqualified for the position. Stress in your communication with her that she is blatantly unqualified for the position.
  • During her testimony, it was clear that DeVos is not familiar with any federal education laws and lacks even the most rudimentary knowledge needed for leading the Department of Education.
  • DeVos does not understand the education needs of a rural state and her charter and voucher initiatives will hurt the students and public schools in West Virginia.
  • Ask her to put students above partisan politics.