<P>CHARLESTON – Senate Bill 451, a bill that focuses on system-wide comprehensive reform in West Virginia’s public education system, passed the West Virginia Senate today by a vote of 18-16.
The bill includes several provisions designed to completely overhaul and improve the state’s current education system, including:
• Providing another 5-percent pay raise for teachers and school service personnel;
• Creating a $250 tax credit for teachers on the purchase of classroom supplies or other educational materials;
• Increasing the number of professional student support personnel
• Providing counties with flexibility to generate more funding for their public schools;
• Rewarding teachers with a financial incentive for missing four or fewer days per school year;
• Creating the West Virginia Public Charter Schools Act; and,
• Developing a program for Education Savings Accounts
Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said the bill is designed to increase individual student success, give parents the freedom to choose how their children are educated, and continue to invest in our public school teachers.
“This bill fundamentally changes the lives and opportunities for all students and teachers in this state to take us from last place to first place,” Senate President Carmichael said. “Through no fault of students, teachers, or parents, we have been mired in a system that leaves far too many of our children behind. We have a moral imperative to make West Virginia the best place to raise a family, and I am confident that the measures provided in this bill will unlock the door to opportunity for thousands of our children and parents.”
The bill awaits further consideration in the House of Delegates.