W.Va. Senate Adjourns, Ending Special Session On Education


West Virginia’s special session is officially over.

The Senate adjourned the education-focused session after a brief meeting Monday, capping a gridlocked legislative overtime where lawmakers approved a sweeping GOP plan to allow the state’s first charter schools despite heavy protests from teachers.

The legislature passed the broad-based Republican bill in June. The measure deals with several aspects of the education system, but the charter provision drew opposition from teachers and Democrats who argued the schools will steer money away from public schools.

The bill allows for a staggered implementation of charter schools, limiting the state to three charters until 2023 then letting three more go up every three years after that. It also has a pay raise for teachers, among other things.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed the measure into law days after the GOP-led legislature sent the bill to his desk.

A teachers union is threatening to sue over the measure, saying it contains a number of Constitutional violations, including a requirement that bills be limited to a “single object.”

Justice called the special session after legislators failed to agree on education proposals following a two-day teacher strike over a similar bill in February.

The Senate adjourned its half of the special session during its scheduled interim meetings when lawmakers are required to be at the state Capitol. The chamber also unanimously approved a list of staffing appointments made by the governor.

The House of Delegates adjourned about two months ago.