Clearly the West Virginia legislature and Governor Jim Justice have no respect for the traditions of policymaking, the West Virginia taxpayer OR our school personnel, who are on the front lines helping our kids every day. Who's driving this clown car?
Let’s review what’s happened so far.
This Spring, after the legislature did not pass the unpopular Education Omnibus Bill during the regular legislative session, Justice called for an expensive and unnecessary special session to “re-litigate” the issue. A special session costs around $35,000 per day — equal to the cost of school lunches for 10,836 kids. Taxpayers are left shouldering the burden.
Then, the House set up a confusing and unnecessary new committee structure to try to get the education omnibus bill passed. Why use a structure no one has seen before — are they trying to sneak something past us?
And now, the Senate has voted on a bill that makes it illegal for school workers to strike. It also undermines the local freedom of school superintendents to close schools during a strike, effectively making all future strikes impossible.
Unionized workers across the state, and workers of all kinds, should feel a chill down run their spine as this bill moves forward.
Of course, taxpayers are footing the extra bill for this entire process.
“They clearly didn’t listen to us, and they clearly didn’t care," Cabell County teacher Teresa Jackson told the Charleston Gazette-Mail as she protested at the state Capitol this past weekend.
"We’ve done everything they’ve asked of us. We did our part, we showed up, we told them what we thought truthfully and honestly, and they, clearly, could not have cared less,”
“They say they’re so concerned with saving money, with making sure the funds the state does have go as far as they can. But then we’re paying for this?” said Jackson of the special session. “It’s ridiculous. Disrespectful and ridiculous."
Is there anyone left who hasn’t been disrespected by our lawmakers?
Perhaps only the state Legislature's out-of-state donors, who are busy using West Virginia as a testing ground for taking apart public education.
Those donors may not pay taxes in West Virginia, work here or send their kids to school here. But when it comes to policy, state legislators will break all the rules for them.