Highlights of HB 206 – the Landmark Education Reform Legislation
House Bill 206
legislation is one of the most significant investments in public education in
our state’s history. It represents an investment of more than $177 million in
our state’s public education system. It
provides for higher salaries for teachers and service personnel, additional
counselors and student support staff, increased funding for counties with
smaller populations, salary incentives for math and special education teachers
and an expansion of the Mountaineer Challenge Academy.
With regard to Salaries,
Incentives and Support, HB 206….
- Delivers on the
promise of providing an across the board average 5-percent pay increase for teachers
and service personnel for the second year in a row. ($2,120 for teachers,
$1,150 for service workers – a total pay increase of $65.4 million.)
- Provides a
three-step salary increase for math and special education teachers by allowing
for three additional years of experience for the purposes of the salary
schedule. A total increase of $7.8 million in salaries for those teachers.
- Creates the Underwood-Smith
Teaching Scholars Program for the purpose of awarding scholarships to
individuals who agree to teach in a critical teacher shortage field for at
least five consecutive years for the four academic years in which the scholarship
was received. It increases the amount of the award from up to $5,000 per year
to up to $10,000.
- Changes the name of the Underwood-Smith Teacher Assistance Loan Program to the Teacher Education Loan Repayment Program. To be eligible for a loan repayment award: 1. An applicant must agree to be employed full time under contract with a county board for two school years as a teacher in a critical teacher shortage field, or 2. As a school counselor in a school or geographic area of critical need for such field for each year for which a loan repayment assistance award is received.
- Provides an
additional $200 for teachers and professional support personnel to purchase
- Allows counties to
provide additional compensation for 1. Teachers fully certified and assigned in
critical need and shortage areas, remote geographical areas or with high
turnover rates, and 2. Teachers who in addition to teaching serve as master
teachers, mentors or academic coaches to assist others to improve their
- Requires that a teacher’s
recommendation be the primary consideration for a student’s promotion to the
next grade level.
Regard to Student Support Services HB 206…….
- Provides $30.5
million in additional funding for student support services. It adds social
workers and psychologists defined as “professional student support personnel”
to provide direct social and emotional support services to students, as well as
staff to address chronic absenteeism. Each county will receive funds for 5
support personnel per 1,000 students. It
also increases the amount of work time counselors must spend directly working
with students from 75 to 80 percent. These
services may be provided through public-private partnership or contract.
- Requires that
after both 3 and 5 unexcused absences the attendance director, assistant, or
principal make meaningful contact with the parent or guardian of the student to
ascertain the reasons for the unexcused absences and what measures the school
may employ to assist the student in attending and not incurring any additional
unexcused absences (as opposed to written notice).
With regard to Open
Enrollment HB 206……
- Creates an open
enrollment policy, removing existing provisions relating to transfers between
counties and transfers between high schools. It requires a county board to
establish and implement this policy without charging tuition and without
obtaining approval from the board of the county in which a student resides.
- Requires the Department
of Education to survey districts to determine those grade levels, content areas,
and geographic locations where class overcrowding is impeding student
achievement and report to the Legislature by July 1, 2020 a tailored plan for
reducing class overcrowding in such areas.
With Regard to
Funding HB 206……
- Reduces the
percentage of the levy rate for county boards of education used to calculate
local share from 90 to 85 percent, increasing overall state funding by $17.7
million. It also increases Step 6a funding
by $1.7 million by increasing the percentage of each county’s allowance for
current expenses from 70.25% to 71.25% of the county’s state average costs per
square footage per student for operations and maintenance amount.
- Assists counties
with net enrollment below 1,400 by increasing the adjusted net enrollment used
to calculate those counties’ basic foundation program under existing code by 10
percent. This means that 11 low-population counties – Pocahontas, Pendleton,
Tucker, Gilmer, Webster, Richie, Calhoun, Tyler, Wirt, Pleasants and Doddridge
counties – will instantly see a total increase of $5.3 million in funding to help
cover the fixed costs of operating their school systems.
- Requires that each
county board receive its allocated state aid share of the county’s basic
foundation program in the form of block grants.
- Eliminates equity
pay by removing the prohibition on the pay differential between similar
teachers from being greater than a 10 percent difference in salary provisions
of the equity formula.
With Regard to Local
Control and Support HB 206……
- Strengthens and
expands Local School Improvement Councils. It requires that they conduct at
least one meeting annually to engage parents, students, school employees,
business partners and other interested parties in a dialogue regard the
school’s academic performance and standing and issues that affect it. It
clarifies the process for Local School Improvement Councils to propose
alternatives to the operation of the school and to request waivers, if needed,
to county and State Board rules and policies, state superintendent
interpretations and state statutes.
- Requires the State
Board to implement the Mountain State Digital Literacy Project, a pilot project
in which participating schools are provided with instructional resources that
feature an extensive curriculum related to digital literacy and internet safety. Additionally, administrators and teachers are
provided access to online digital literacy related professional development and
reductions be based upon seniority, certification, licensure and performance
evaluations when a reduction-in-force is necessary. It also allows county
boards to lay off a classroom teacher with two previous consecutive years of
unsatisfactory evaluations instead of less senior classroom teachers with satisfactory
- Allows each county
board to establish by policy an exceptional needs fund from surpluses for
students who are likely to perform better outside of the public schools setting;
it sets forth the provisions that the policy may include.
Mountaineer Challenge Academy HB 206……
- Requires the
Governor, subject to the agreement entered into between the U.S. Secretary of
Defense and the Governor pursuant to federal law, to expand the Mountaineer
Challenge Academy, including a second location at the former WVU-Tech campus in
Fayette County. Further, to the extent
necessary to accomplish the expansion and maximize use of federal funds, pursue
an amendment to the agreement between the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the
With Regard to Charter
- HB 206 provides
for the creation of three new charter schools in West Virginia, that are to be approved
by the local county school board. After July 1, 2023, and every three years
after, the number of charter schools may increase by three additional schools.
The state school board will report on the status of public charter schools to
the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA) every
three years, making any findings or recommendations on policy changes. LOCEA
will then make a report with recommendations, if any, to the Legislature during
its next Regular Session.
HB 206 Provides
for a Tax free weekend:
- Beginning in 2021,
the Friday-Monday weekend containing the first Sunday in August is designated a
sales tax holiday for select clothing, supplies and instructional materials
used for the upcoming school year.