Gov. Justice signs four bills affecting West Virginia schools

Governor Jim Justice signed several bills relating to West Virginia’s schools in a signing ceremony at Leon Elementary School in Leon, West Virginia.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 9:46 AM EDT
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LEON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Governor Jim Justice on March 21 signed several bills relating to West Virginia’s schools in a signing ceremony at Leon Elementary School in Leon, West Virginia.

Joined by Mason County State Senator Amy Grady, the governor addressed an audience of students and school employees. The governor signed four bills in total.

House Bill 3035 establishes the third grade success act. The bill is intended to help elementary school students develop literacy and math fluency. “We want to ensure that all of you, every single last one of you, gets off in school to a great start, and you’re able to master certain skills that will absolutely take you off in a really, really good way,” Gov. Justice said.

Among other things, the legislation calls for the quote “development of a statewide comprehensive, systemic approach to close the reading and mathematics achievement gaps by third grade.”

Justice also signed HB 3369, which creates a School Safety Unit within the state Division of Protective Services. The School Safety Unit will be permitted to provide safety services to West Virginia schools and inspect schools to investigate safety concerns. “You know, from time to time there’s bad things that happen somewhere across this nation in the school and we’ve got to be careful, don’t we?” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got to be careful and we’ve got to feel really safe. This ensures that concept will be that way and that we in West Virginia will have the safest and the best schools we can possibly possibly have.”

Justice signed Senate Bill 422, which requires public schools to publish their curricula online at the start of each school year. The bill also provides guidelines for parents of students to submit complaints if teachers fail to comply.

Justice told WTAP that by creating more transparency in West Virginia schools, the bill will help relieve concerns parents may have about their children’s education. “Sometimes, not knowing, you become afraid of the dark,” Gov. Justice said. “And when parents get afraid of the dark, then bad things can happen. And so, with all that being said, I don’t think there’s bad things going on in our schools. I don’t think that all. But having us more transparent makes us better.”

The governor also signed House Bill 2005, which proposes the creation of a dual-enrollment pilot program. The program would provide funding to cover the cost of certain college-level courses for dual-enrolled high school students. The courses covered would be those related to certain career paths, including direct care health professions, information technology, and science, technology, engineering, and math.