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Charter School Expansion Bill Passes West Virginia House

February 16th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

The West Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday passed a bill that would increase the number of public charter schools. The bill passed on a 66-32 vote with two delegates not voting. All Democrats voted against the bill. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would increase the number of charter schools allowed every three years from three to 10. It also would allow for online-only charter schools, among other things. “We’re a diverse state. We have different geographic regions that have different needs,” said Delegate Joe Ellington, a Mercer County Republican and the bill's sponsor. "This just gives opportunity. If people don’t want to take advantage of that opportunity, they don’t have to. So it’s strictly voluntary.”

Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill in 2019 that allows for the creation of charter schools. The signing came after a gridlocked special legislative session on education that drew heavy protests from public school teachers.

Educators and Democrats argued that the move to install charters was driven by outside interests that will steer money away from public schools.