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Take time to get education reform right

State Senate President Mitch Carmichael seems hopeful legislation to improve West Virginia public schools can be dealt with in one day. His plan is for lawmakers to hold a special session on Saturday.

Carmichael, R-Jackson, informed legislators his intention is “to begin and complete Senate action” on an education bill in one day. He told Metro News he thinks that is possible.

Technically, it is possible, in view of Senate leaders’ strategy on school-related issues. Republicans in that chamber have packaged their education proposals in a single bill, the Student Success Act.

Across the Capitol in the House of Delegates, a multi-bill approach is being taken. House Speaker Rogert Hanshaw, R-Clay, has formed four committees to review the proposals. The House will go into session June 17.

There is reason to believe dealing with school improvement will not be as contentious as it was last winter, when the single-bill approach collapsed in defeat. Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on most aspects of making schools better. One bitterly fought idea, for education savings accounts, has been dropped. And, there seems to be less opposition to at least a few charter schools.

At a cost of about $35,000 per day, special legislative sessions are costly. Carmichael is right to desire the upcoming one on education be as short as possible. One day may be pushing it, however.

Better for lawmakers to spend a few more dollars and get it right than to rush through the session and make mistakes.

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