December 13, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) unanimously approved six recommendations for increased education funding at its meeting this week. The recommendations, which will be presented to state lawmakers, were outlined through the WVBE’s committee on school finance and funding.

“The committee discussed nearly 30 areas to consider for increased funding,” board member and chair of the committee on school finance and funding Tom Campbell said. “We ultimately agreed on six areas that will have the greatest impact on students and schools over time.”

Equity in funding has been a major focus for West Virginia for many years. However, student needs cannot be fairly met based on enrollment numbers alone. The recommendations ensure the state’s funding formula equitably and adequately address the needs of students today.

The WVBE approved the following six recommendations

  1. Increase compensation/funding for Step 1 and Step 2. This should include an increase in the number of funded positions and increased compensation for professional educators and service personnel to meet the needs of West Virginia students.
  2. Provide adequate funding for Step 6a to adequately maintain school facilities.
  3. Reestablish leave incentives for employees to reduce the need for substitutes and improve retention and recruitment rates. Increased funding for Steps 6b and Step 6c would alleviate some funding issues. This problem has progressively worsened as more employees enter the workforce without the ability to bank leave days and convert them for benefits such as pension credit or health care costs at retirement. Receiving some pension credit for unused sick leave was successful previously and should be reauthorized.
  4. Increase the supply reimbursements above the current amount of $200 per professional educator. This funding has not changed for many years. The funding has not kept up with rising cost of materials and is inadequate for today’s classroom needs.
  5. Increase county funding and flexibility to address the growing severity of our students’ physical and mental health needs. Increased funding would support response personnel and include but not be limited to additional mental health counselors, guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists. Additional funding for alternative education (as defined in §18-2-6) is needed for those students who have limitations that make it difficult for them to attend school during the traditional public-school day.  
  6. Increase funding for career technical education (CTE). There is great demand in today’s economy for students that possess expertise in technical skills such as construction, plumbing, electrical and computer-related technology.

“I commend the work of our committee on school finance and funding,” WVBE President David Perry said. “As a Board, we stand behind these recommendations and plan to share them with our state’s lawmakers ahead of the upcoming legislative session in hopes of action being taken to increase funding to benefit our education system.”

“Our goal is to prioritize the needs we have heard from our districts and provide that input to the Legislature,” he said.