WVa lawmakers want voters to decide the final say on education

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia lawmakers would have the final say on state Board of Education policies under a resolution approved Monday by the state Senate.

The resolution, passed by the House of Delegates 80-18 last week, passed the Senate in a 23-11 vote. After being returned to the House because the Senate fine-tuned the resolution, it would be presented to voters next fall as a proposed constitutional amendment.

Democrats, along with the West Virginia Education Association, say the resolution would inject politics into education and is unnecessary. It states that the board’s policy and rule-making authority is subject to legislative review, approval, amendment or rejection.

Mason County Republican Amy Grady, who is a teacher, said she did not know what she personally thought of the resolution, but said she would vote for it because voters should have that chance to decide.

“They sent me here to do the right thing,” Grady said.

Opponent of the resolution Mike Romano, a Democrat from Harrison County, said the need for voter approval was a “loophole.”

“If it was a good idea, we’d put the whole constitution in place every election so everyone could vote, see if we wanted to change anything,” Romano said. “Maybe we want to change the First Amendment or the Second Amendment. That’s crazy. That’s crazy.”

The state Board of Education, composed of nine members, is appointed by the governor. Members cannot be removed due to political or political disagreements. Most of the members were nominated by Republican Governor Jim Justice for two terms.

Randolph County Republican Robert Karnes said the entire state is not represented by board members, who hail from parts of West Virginia.

Karnes said the board of education is an “unelected body that is ultimately unaccountable. We want people who have to answer to voters.

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