West Virginia school groups OK possible work action over education bill

PARKERSBURG — School personnel from around West Virginia overwhelmingly voted to authorize their state associations to call for a work action if needed over the education bill in the Legislature, officials said Saturday.

Representatives of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association met Saturday in Flatwoods where the statewide authorization vote by members earlier this week was tabulated and the result announced.

“The result of the vote was not surprising because SB 451 will determine the trajectory of West Virginia’s public education system. Every day, our educators put the needs of West Virginia kids first. Their well-being, quality of academic education, and the types of programs provided will be directly effected by this bill,” Adena Barnette, a member of the board of the West Virginia Education Association and president of the Jackson County Education Association, said.

“The unity shown by all three educator’s unions is unprecedented in our state’s history. Leaders are working together to represent the concerns of the entire public education community,” she said. “We know what’s at stake here. Unity is the only way to defeat SB 451 and to save our public schools.”

Union leaders Saturday didn’t say what type of action may be taken.

Senate Bill 451 was passed by the Senate on Monday. The House Education Committee on Friday significantly amended the bill.

It was sent to the Finance Committee. Two public hearings were scheduled for 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday in the chambers of the House of Delegates.

Teachers and school service employees in 2018 went on strike for nine days.