Latest education bill has teachers concerned about art programs

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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV)- A new education bill will soon make it's way to the Senate, and it is concerning many teachers. If passed by the Senate, the bill will eliminate the Department of Education and the Arts.

The existing programs will be shifted to other departments and lawmakers claim there will be no major disruptions. Education chair Paul Espinosa says this is for greater education efficiency and that it is long overdue.

Harrison County Superintendent Mark Manchin believes the department is an important one. However, he says the programs will be transferred to other departments, and no major changes will be coming to the classroom.

"A lot of people think that because it has the term 'education' in it, that it perhaps directly effects it, but it is more indirect and providing services," he says.

However, not all teachers are on board. Some at Bridgeport High School say if this bill passes in the Senate, their arts and theater programs are going to see detrimental changes.

"It hurt us last year when the grant offerings were cut, and now that the department is being disbanded, it really takes away most of the hope that we will be able to receive funding to get these kids educational opportunities," says teacher Jared St. Martin Brown.

Last year the House passed a similar bill, but it failed in the Senate.