W.Va. Democratic senators announce comprehensive education package

The bills will focus on addressing root social problems like drugs, restoring local flexibility to schools, class size and teacher pay, as well as increasing vocational and technical education.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Democratic senators in West Virginia announced their comprehensive education package Monday night that they will be proposing during next week's special legislative session focusing on education reform.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, members announced that their version of an education reform package will consist of six separate bills, opposed to earlier this year. That's when all education reform, from class size, to pay raises and even charter schools, was put under one umbrella as a part of an education omnibus bill which lead to a two-day teacher strike.

The bills will focus on addressing root social problems like drugs, restoring local flexibility to schools, class size and teacher pay, as well as increasing vocational and technical education.

Democrats say this plan is consistent with what they learned from education forums held around the state following the teacher work-stoppage.

Meanwhile, West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R- Clay, says he is hoping to hold a news conference on Wednesday about the GOP's plans for education reform.

In a news release Monday Speaker Hanshaw said that he's already discussed the plan with the GOP caucus, Gov. Jim Justice, Senate Leadership and members of the state Board of Education.

Up next he said he is ready to reach across the aisle.

"We know the one-size-fits-all approach of regulating education from Charleston has not been working for our local school systems," Speaker Hanshaw said in a news release. "The needs of Mingo County are much different than those in Monongalia County. Eastern Panhandle schools face different challenges than systems in our more rural counties. We agree that we need to give local schools and boards of education more flexibility to manage their education systems in a way that best meets the needs of the local community."