CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia is set for a big day of education policy discussion.

The West Virginia Board of Education started an emergency meeting at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the financial implications of a broad-ranging schools bill. There will be a live audio stream of the meeting.

Yesterday, Gov. Jim Justice came out against the big bill and indicated he would veto it if it reaches his desk. He continued his comments on MetroNews’ “Talkline” at 10:06 a.m.

At 11 a.m., the state Senate is scheduled to gavel in as a Committee of the Whole, together considering the bill that has already been contentious. That streams here.

Here’s where to find the bill that is stirring all this discussion.

We’ll provide updates here throughout the day.

8:34 p.m. The Committee of the Whole has adjourned for the day.

8:25 p.m. Senator Charles Clements, R-Wetzel: “How many charter schools do you envision in West Virginia?”

Emily Schultz of of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: “I don’t envision an explosion.”

She references two in Alabama, suggesting that might be a point of comparison.

8:24 p.m. Senator Charles Trump, R-Jefferson, thanks state school board president Perry for having an emergency meeting today and for producing recommendations.

8:18 p.m. Senator Blair describes about 12 minutes left for questions.

Senator Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, calls back state school board President Dave Perry. He wants to know their education background and if they were consulted on this bill.

8:01 p.m. Brian Dayton of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce says, “If I thought this bill would hurt public education, if I thought it would hurt teachers, I would not be standing here today.”

But he says the chamber’s membership says its number one priority is education.

He calls West Virginia’s education statistics “terrifying.”

“We have a system in West Virginia that is not producing the results we need to thrive.”

7:56 p.m. Rachelle Engen of Institute for Justice touts Educational Savings Accounts. “ESAs allow unprecedented opportunities for parents to customize their children’s educations.”

“Please do not forget about the students for whom public schools simply do not work.”

7: 39 p.m. Now speaking is Emily Schultz of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

She was on Talkline earlier today:

“The purpose of our public schools is to give every child a great education, and that is exactly what charter schools can do,” Schultz said.

7:31 p.m. “Slow down. Let’s look at things. I’ve never been asked my input,” says Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.

7:23 p.m. Tracy White of the Kanawha County school board.

“West Virginia’s entire public education system continues to be underfunded,” she says.

7:15 p.m. Now speaking is Terry George, superintendent of Fayette County schools.

“I’m really confused about what you think this bill is going to do,” he says, citing confusion about charter schools and educational savings accounts.

He believes those would sap resources from local school systems.

“This bill is going to lead to probably one of the largest consolidation efforts this state has ever experienced,” George says.

7:10 p.m. Next speaker is David McClure, chief financial officer of Greenbrier County schools.

He says the local concern is the possibility of raising levy rates.

7 p.m. Now the speaker is Bernie Dolan of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission.

“There are rules in here that would conflict with our current rules.”

One is charter students participating on an athletic team if they don’t have that sport in their school.

6:56 p.m. Dave Perry of the West Virginia Board of Education is the next presenter.

He notes that the state school board believes aspect of the big bill should be separated and considered on its own merits.

6:45 p.m. Now Fred Albert of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia.

“Why are we rushing this process?” Albert asks.

6:34 p.m. The first testimony comes from Dale Lee of the West Virginia Education Association.

“You know who the true experts in public education are? They’re the people in the gallery, the people in the schools every day, the people driving the school bus, the people making the hot meal.

“You want experts in public education? Talk to them.”

6:30 p.m. Experts are being called to the podium for a 5- to 10- minute presentation.

Then they may be called back up for questions.

Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, cites the weather conditions and asks why this is going into the evening.

“What is the urgency with this?” he asks. “I cannot understand the urgency that we’re going to be here all night with zero-degree weather.”

Blair says, “We have people who have traveled here in order to present.”

5:30 p.m. Questions of counsel have concluded. Senator Blair is about to call a recess. Then there will be witness testimony, starting about 6 p.m. “We’re not looking for opinions; we’re looking for expertise from that standpoint.”

4:24 p.m. Several topics, represented by PowerPoint slides, that are not sparking questions. “Advance the slide,” Senator Blair says.

We finally stop on the Education Savings Accounts slide.

This allows for 2,500 education savings accounts.

Senator Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, says “I’m trying to wrap my head around these ESAs.” He begins to ask about the application process and who is eligible.

Senator Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, asks: “Is this a discussion about school choice? So, this is about the right of parents to know best where their children should get an education.”

Roberts: “Who are the students in West Virginia? Are they defined by what school they go to? They’re defined by the fact that they live in West Virginia and go to school in West Virginia, right?”

Roberts, who is also administrator of Victory Baptist Academy, concluded by asking, “Do we as legislators want to give school choice to the taxpayers of West Virginia? Is that the bottom line?”

3:31 p.m. On to a section about school counselors. It eliminates older language saying 75 percent of a counselor’s time be spent on counseling. Senator Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, wonders why this is in the bill.

Staff counsel: “It sort of implies the other 25 percent of the time can be used for other purposes, administrative purposes.”

3:26 p.m. Non-severability is now up.

It says if any aspect of the bill is struck down then the whole bill would be struck down.

Senator Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, questions how frequent such a clause appears in legislation.

“What’s the educational purpose of this clause? Is there any value to it that’s going to advance education? To me, it’s mean spirited.”

Staff counsel speculates that the items on the bill are inter-related and this is meant to hold the various components together.

3:17 p.m. After about an hour of discussion on charter schools, the topic is now turning to changes to county school board levies.

Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso’s questions are pointing out that a majority of the local board of education can vote to increase levy rates without a public hearing.

“Boards of education would be allowed to raise people’s property taxes,” Prezioso says.

2:22 p.m. Over at the Department of Education, state board members have been voting on whether they support the various aspects of the bill.

“I would hope the Senate and House would take our recommendations under advisement as they deliberate,” said board President Dave Perry.

Shauna Johnson of MetroNews has been covering the emergency meeting.

Here’s how the school board votes have been going.

Among various positions, board members endorsed a pay raise for teachers but voted not to endorse charter schools, educational savings account or a provision where educators wouldn’t be paid if a work stoppage closes schools.

2:11 p.m. We’re back and going for real. Senator Hardesty resumes, making a humorous reference to “whoever pulled the alarm and tried to silence me.”

2:04 p.m. The biggest school system in the state, Kanawha, issued a resolution largely in opposition to the omnibus education bill:

The Kanawha County Board of Education opposes any and all efforts to use public funds for education reform or make any changes that does not lead to higher student achievement for the most disadvantaged students; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: Taxation and policy decisions which result in reduced revenues for public education and/or have a negative impact on our students and families must be avoided.

2:02 p.m. Senator Blair hit the gavel, but says the gallery is about half full from what it was before. He intends to wait a few minutes for people to filter back in. That’ll be about 2:10.

1:45 p.m. I think we got the all clear.

But even that is not entirely clear.

Not exactly back in action yet.

1:26 p.m. An alarm has gone off.

Senator Paul Hardesty, D-Logan, was in the middle of some questions.

Senator Blair has suggested everybody leave.

1:09 p.m. Documents about the big education bill are available here.

12:55 p.m. Over in the House of Delegates, Speaker Roger Hanshaw issued a statement today, acknowledging interest in what’s unfolding in the Senate, making reference to discussions to improve the state’s education system and offering to discuss that with anyone.

Roger Hanshaw

“From the beginning of this session, House leadership has made clear that improving the compensation and benefits for our state’s teachers and school service personnel is a top priority for this legislative session, and our commitment to that goal remains unwavering. We fully anticipate passing bills to improve compensation for teachers, service personnel and state employees as we move forward with our Fiscal Year 2020 budget process.

“We too have been following developments in the state Senate, and will deliberately review any legislation they send our way. Meanwhile, we continue to have discussions with our members and other interested parties about how best to improve our state’s education system. We have and will continue to accept input from all sides – including teachers, parents, administrators, and teacher and service employee unions.

“We will carefully review all options and work diligently to build a consensus on how to provide our children with the highest-quality educational experience possible. We know this is a sensitive topic, and passions are heightened on all sides of these issues. It is my hope that we can move forward in a rational and deliberate manner to improve our education system for students, teachers and all involved.”

12:45 p.m. We’re back up and running, with senators asking questions.

Senator Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, asked several questions about how charter schools would run, including certification of teachers and transportation.

Senator Randy Smith, R-Tucker, is also asking about how levy rates would be changed under this bill.

12:04 p.m. Senators have heard a summary of the bill and its possible financial implications.

There’s a break now until roughly 12:45 p.m.

Some of the key slides:

10:59 a.m. We’re about to get started in the Senate with the Committee of the Whole.

Copies of a PowerPoint explaining the omnibus education bill have been distributed on senators’ desks.

Senate Majority Leader Takubo makes a motion to resolve into a Committee of the Whole. There’s a demand to vote to actually do so. The vote is 19-15 in favor. Hamilton, a Republican, joins Democrats who are against.

Senate Finance Chairman Blair is named the chairman and heads to the podium

West Virginia Legislature

Robert Plymale

10:51 a.m. Senator Bob Plymale, a former Senate Education Chairman, expects a vote on the big education bill before the day is out. But Plymale, D-Wayne, objects to the way the bill has unfolded.

“The process is not the process that needs to be done. When we did the one in 2013, we met and met and met. To really get the changes you need, you’ve got to articulate those.”

10:45 a.m. Fred Albert of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia said on MetroNews’ “Talkline” that he’s asking teachers to keep their powder dry on a walkout.

“While there were some in the audience pushing to walk out, I told them, we have got to be respectful.” Albert says he was encouraged by the governor’s remarks yesterday.

He said West Virginia educators have largely been left out of the process.

“I went and met Senator Rucker, and I looked her in the eyes and said ‘I would love to sit down with you and have some input and talk about these things.”

10:29 a.m. Gov. Jim Justice appeared on MetroNews’ “Talkline” this morning to elaborate on his initial public remarks in opposition to the one big education bill.

Justice said he is in favor of some reforms but that this bill goes too far.

“I would just say for crying out loud, this was such a simple, simple thing and what we’ve done is created divide. We should never have gone down this path. Now, we can make it better. There’s no question we can make it better,” he said.

Justice says Republicans “made a tactical error in regard of the hottest of the hot buttons. I wish we could have sat down and worked out what we could have with all parties before we got everybody in the state riled up.”

He went on to say, “The Republicans, they’re not the Evil Witch of the West. They’re trying to make things better. But there are certain things that are not buttons that we don’t need to take on at this time.”

Justice said more communication would have gone a long way.

“Somebody should have come to me and said ‘Governor, how do you feel about this?” He said he was left out “to some degree, but I’m not going to whine about that.”

9:33 a.m. The emergency school board meeting has begun. “The lightning speed with which this bill has moved has necessitated this meeting,” says state school board President Dave Perry.

He says there are seven presenters for their meeting.

State board members are talking about the education bill as “a moving target” because it has gone through several incarnations already.

State Superintendent Steve Paine: “First of all, I think it was really important for the governor to make the statement he made yesterday. I really appreciate him doing that.”

Paine also says he felt good about the governor promising a pay raise months ago. “I had no idea that pay raise bill would have amended into it or added into it all the different components of this omnibus bill.”

Paine says when common core was debated, there was a concerted effort to keep the conversation local rather than opening up to national figures.

“I don’t understand why the folks who have been allowed to speak are national — charter school people, school choice advocates,” Paine says.

He then cites ALEC — “they seem to want to drive this agenda of charter schools and educational savings accounts.”

Paine says: “Our community schools are the backbone and the heartbeat of the state.”

Paine: “I’ve been stewing about this. And I’ve been stewing about this a long time. I respect the Legislature, and I respect the legislative process. I would ask that they reciprocate and respect the expertise at the Board and the Department of Education.”

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