"Keep the Promise" listening tour comes to Harrison County

HARRISON COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - West Virginia senate democrats brought the "Keep the Promise" listening tour to harrison county where they spoke with educators at Robert C. Byrd high school.

Frustrated educators spoke to a panel of Democratic senators from across the state about their concerns on education reform policy.

The "Keep the Promise" listening tour was ordered by governor Jim Justice after backlash against Senate Bill 451 that lead to teachers to strike for the second year in a row.

Senator Bob Beach (D), who has been to multiple stops on the listening tour, says he's hearing a lot of similar isasues throughout the state.

"The leadership in the legislature needs to be listening because we're hearing the same things no matter where we stop,"

Senator Beach says that from the feedback he's heard from educators it's clear what they don't want to see.

"It's not that they want charter schools and it's not that they want these voucher programs," Senator Beach said "There are real issues that are occurring in our communities before the children get to school and those are the things that the teachers and the members of the community will want to see addressed first,"

However, Republican representatives who stand behind the implementation of charter schools say they think their are enough benefits to support the option of charter schools going forward.

"I did vote for two pilot charter schools, in the final version of Senate Bill 451" said delegate Ben Queen "It was a bi-partisan bill, it was able to move the needle forward with more funding formulas, I think charter schools give an option to local school boards,"

Even after feedback from the listening tour, Senator Beach fears a version of Senate Bill 451 will be put forward again, however he hopes it is approached differently this time.

"The house intends to break it up, take it up for consideration in multiple pieces rather than one omnibus bill that the senate will be presenting,"

But when the special session begins, senator beach says it will be up to the governor to decide what is presented.

"Will the governor be presenting to us senate bill 451 with his name on it?" Senator Beach said "Because that's how the system works, he presents during special session the bills that need to be taken into consideration,"

The special session is expected to be held in May.