CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ/AP)-- UPDATE 11/14/19 @ 12:15 a.m.
Nearly five months after the passing of the omnibus education bill opened the door for charter schools in West Virginia, the policy outlining what defines a charter school was released Tuesday.
According to the new policy, charter schools will receive public funding but will be governed by non-profit boards that include parents and community members and will operate under contracts negotiated with local boards of education.
Charter schools will not be affiliated with any religious organization and they cannot charge tuition or fees that traditional public schools would not charge.
Parents may voluntarily submit their children to a random lottery if they wish for their student to go to a charter school.
"Many had a concern about the option of a charter school," West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) said. "It's done in 44 other states. This is a necessary step that we need to make in West Virginia for the benefit of our students."
Union leaders were largely against the idea of bringing charter schools to the state when it was still up for debate earlier this year.
"Let's go after making our public schools better," said West Virginia AFT president Fred Albert. "Why are we creating a whole different system within our public schools? Let's support public education in west Virginia and make it the best we possibly can."
The policy will enter a 30-day comment period for teachers, parents and members of the community to respond. Charter schools will not open in West Virginia until fall 2021 at the earliest.
UPDATE 11/13/19 @ 5:25 p.m.
State education officials in West Virginia have released the policy for charter schools in the state.
A two-day meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education is underway in Charleston to talk about the policy. The meeting began Wednesday and continues Thursday.
The West Virginia Legislature passed an education reform bill in June, allowing for the creation of charter schools. The bill also includes a number of other proposed changes to the education system, including pay raises, incentives to fill in-demand positions, and financial support for struggling counties.
Under the charter school policy, parents would voluntarily enter their child into a lottery system to be considered.
To see a complete copy of the policy, click on the Related Documents with this story.
A charter school policy is on the agenda for a two-day meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education.
The meeting is scheduled for Nov. 13 and 14.
According to the agenda, the board is requesting a 30-day public comment period for the policy -- the details of which are not available yet.
Although an agenda attachment states that the policy will be made available on or before Wednesday, Nov. 13, Kristin Anderson, executive director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Education, told our sister station, WSAZ, the policy will not be available until it is presented in the 9 a.m. meeting on Thursday.
"We strive to have all policies attached to the agenda when it is posted, however historically, and in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, larger polices that require more work are frequently not made available until they are presented," said Anderson.
The West Virginia State Senate passed an education reform bill in June, allowing for the creation of charter schools. The bill also includes a number of other proposed changes to the education system, including pay raises, incentives to fill in-demand positions, and financial support for struggling counties.