Board of Education recommends more funding for teachers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The state’s Board of Education is recommending more funding for teachers, counselors and nurses as well as increased funding for career technical education and “adequate” funding for facilities.

The State Journal reports the recommendations are a product of a select committee on finance formed by board President Dave Perry when he took over in July.

Perry told the paper the committee looked at the school aid formula and determined it was “very equitable” but also “dramatically underfunded.”

In addition to hiring more staff, the proposal recommends allowing teachers to bank their sick days and time off. It also says more funding is needed to meet students’ mental health needs, including hiring mental health counselors, guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, physical therapists and psychologists.

The recommendations don’t give dollar figures for how much should be allocated to each area. Perry said they are leaving that up to the legislature.

“Obviously, none of us would expect that this would be funded 100 percent in the first year,” Perry said. “But we would definitely hope that it will be looked at, and that it will start to turn this formula around and meet the needs of the students in the 21st century.”

At least one recommendation seems likely to have legislative support. Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, already has mentioned increasing the reimbursement to teachers for supplies from $200 to around $500. Other recommendations may be a tougher sell among lawmakers who may be looking for ways to cut taxes.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, has already said they will be discussing how to repeal the state’s business inventory tax without hurting the public school system when the next session begins on Jan. 9. That could necessitate changing how schools are funded.

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