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OC Schools Employees Traveling To Charleston for Special Session

File Photo Ohio County Education Association President Jenny Craig is pictured in this undated file photo.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect that teachers and school service personnel from throughout the Northern Panhandle will be traveling to Charleston Monday for the resumption of the special session on education reform. The initial story indicated no other education personnel outside of Ohio County would be traveling to the event; however, what the reporter intended to write was that no other organized groups led by a county education association, to the best of her knowledge and the knowledge of those she spoke to, were planning a trip. School service personnel and teachers from other counties also will be riding the buses transporting Ohio County personnel.

WHEELING — A contingent of teachers, parents and service employees representing Ohio County Schools will be present at the State Capitol on Monday when the West Virginia House of Delegates starts its special session in Charleston.

The group is scheduled to board a chartered bus leaving at 6 a.m. Monday from the parking lot of the White Palace at Wheeling Park. The bus is being paid for through contributions from local trade unions supporting the teachers, Ohio County Education Association President Jenny Craig said.

It is expected to arrive in Charleston at the start of a 9 a.m. rally to take place on the State Capitol steps. Other school workers from the Northern Panhandle plan to be in Charleston Monday as well; however, other county education associations were not organizing a trip similar to Ohio County.

Many state residents have questions about whether any significant legislation will be achieved during the session, called for the purpose of “the betterment of education.”

Craig expressed skepticism when asked if she expected any positive movement by the legislature on education matters.

“Unfortunately, no,” she said. “They are having a special session at the expense of West Virginia taxpayers, and the Senate has made it clear they will not produce a bill that has the support of the majority of people in West Virginia.

“It’s clear nothing good will come out of this session. At this point, they’re just wasting taxpayer money.”

Special sessions by the legislature cost the state in excess of $30,000 per day when both the House and Senate are in session.

Senate Democrats proposed eight bills when the Senate met for their special session earlier this month, with the Democrat’s legislation focusing on restrictions on class size, funding for career and trade programs, and increased allowances for mental health initiatives. These weren’t satisfactorily included in the “Student Success Act” passed by the Senate and now before the House, according to Craig.

“The best case scenario is that they adjourn the special session, then reconvene during regular session to bring some of these measures forward so they can pass or fail on their own merits,” she said.

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