Say no to Senate Education bills

Senate Bill 1039, the Student Success Act, and SB 1040 allow the unsupervised transfer of public funds to private individuals and organizations without adequate supervision. It would also damage or destroy the public school system. Please ask your delegates to reject these bills.

SB 1040 establishes a limited number of vouchers payable to individuals for the education of a student outside the public school system, even for home education expenses. This seems unnecessary as students, who are not succeeding in regular classrooms, must have Individual Education Plans which can include placement outside regular schools.

SB 1039, an omnibus bill, known as the Student Success Act, has numerous objectionable provisions including hamstringing teachers’ unions, reducing hours of instruction and permitting charter schools.

SB 1039 permits the establishment of an unlimited number of charter schools by non-profits that can be approved either by the county boards of education or the state Board of Education. Curricula are not specified; teacher certifications are not required. Public funds maybe disbursed without supervision.

If the current private schools are allowed in the charter program, this would increase the “public school student” count. The state education budget would have to be increased to allow disbursements for those students. If schools associated with churches become state supported charter schools, questions about the separation of church and state would result.

The students who succeed under this bill will be those admitted to charter schools. Tuition paid by parents will supplement the state stipend to increase program quality. The charter schools will not worry about students arriving at school hungry and can reject children with physical, mental, and social problems. The public schools will be left with the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the students with special needs-in other words the expensive students who require extra staff attention to succeed.

People who want to have a private school education for their children can apply and seek scholarships. Although I have voted for every previous levy, if the public school system is fragmented by charters, I will vote against any education levy that is brought forward.

The House rejected SB 451, the Omnibus Education Bill, during the regular session. The attendees of the eight education forums overwhelmingly rejected Education Savings Accounts and charter schools. Please make delegates know the feelings of the citizens of West Virginia. Please tell your legislators to reject SB 1039 and SB 1040 before they convene on June 17.

Judith Peascoe