UPDATE: 4/10/2013 3:20 PM
The governor signed his wide-ranging education measure Wednesday.
The new law offers counties more leeway for setting school calendars and hiring educators. It offers to help teachers in critical need areas with student loans. Nationally certified teachers will be paid to renew that prized status.
Other provisions aid Tomblin's goals for 3rd grade reading and college and career readiness.
Lawmakers amended the measure to require personnel cuts at the state department of education. The legislation takes effect June 20.
A coalition of employers and business groups including the state Chamber of Commerce championed the bill.
It also reflects concessions to teachers and school workers.
Updated: 3/25/2013 6:20 P.M.
It was the cornerstone of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's agenda for this year's West Virginia Legislature.
And local school officials are pleased with the education reform bill passed late last week.
While it gives county schools more freedom in setting school calendars, Wood County's superintendent is most pleased with the increased control it gives them in hiring and promoting teachers.
"I like the piece in the bill regarding the continued use of teachers in the faculty senate, and the hiring of staff, which I think is going to be very good in choosing those people to fit those buildings," Dr. Law said, "much more than what we've dealt with in the past, which has been strictly on seniority."
Dr. Law also advises parents the bill provides for more public comment on the school year calendar.
While it might allow for year-round school, the superintendent says that, considering several school buildings are still without air conditioning, that won't happen anytime soon.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia will soon change how county school districts hire educators and set annual calendars.
Those moves are among several in legislation passed 95-2 Friday by the House of Delegates.
The vote sends Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin his agenda's biggest item. The Senate unanimously approved the bill Monday. It also amended the measure to address concerns raised by teacher and school worker groups.
Tomblin and lawmakers have focused on public schools after an audit contrasted hefty taxpayer spending with poor student achievement. The governor is planning executive orders and has enlisted the state school board to seek additional education changes.
But before Friday's vote, several House Republicans argued the bill falls short and could have done more.
Friday's bill is just the second to clear the entire Legislature this session.
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