The debate over SB 451, which promotes charter schools and vouchers in West Virginia, while offering teachers raises, has centered around choice and parents’ ability to send their children to school where they want. Passage of the bill in the state senate prompted an immediate response from teachers who voted to strike in the anniversary week of a landmark court decision which held education is a fundamental right. A West Virginia University expert believes the arguments miss an important provision of the bill — a “deceptively modest change” that would allow county school boards to increase property taxes with voter approval.
“There is a more immediate threat posed by SB451 that has not received as much attention—the bill shifts greater responsibility to funding schools from the state to the county school districts and their taxpayers. For certain rural counties, that shift will present a different kind of school choice: the choice between higher school taxes or drastic school cuts and consolidation.”
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