Amendment for legislative oversight of WV Board of Education one step away from voters

(The Center Square) — A proposed constitutional amendment, which would give the West Virginia General Assembly oversight of the state’s Board of Education, is one step away from the voters.

An amended version of House Joint Resolution 102, sponsored by Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, passed the Senate 23-11. The original version passed the House 80-18. The amendments were technical in nature and did not change the substance of the proposal.

If the House concurs with the amended version of the resolution, the proposal will be placed on the general election ballots this fall as a referendum. If the voters approve the resolution, it will amend the state’s constitution.

The proposed amendment would require the board of education to submit proposed rules or policies to the legislature before such changes are adopted. The legislature would be allowed to review and approve, amend or reject the proposals. The legislature could reject or approve them in whole or in part.

“Oversight is always a good thing, particularly when it comes to the education of kids,” Garrett Ballengee, the executive director of the free-market Cardinal Institute, told The Center Square. “I think the pandemic has acutely demonstrated that sunlight on all things related to education is, probably, a good idea, and this is no different.”

Lawmakers sought to get a similar amendment on the ballot last year but were unsuccessful in getting it through the Senate.