CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House of Delegates Committee on Education Chairman Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, today issued the following statement regarding the merits of House Bill 4006, and rebuking claims that the motivation behind the bill was a personal, political attack:
"While some have attempted to portray this legislation as a personal attack, the Secretary in office when the bill was first developed, Secretary Kay Goodwin, has since retired. Claims that the motivations behind the bill are political in nature are simply not true.
"This bill is in large part a response to a status report on the implementation of the 2012 Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System given to the Joint Standing Committee on Education during the August 2016 interims by the West Virginia Board of Education. The Board called for 'the removal of statutes that encroach upon WVBE’s authority to direct professional development.'
"Among the principles outlined in the Audit were 'driving more educational decision-making down to the classroom and building level – allowing principals to lead and teachers to deliver the most effective curriculum for their students – and then holding them accountable for their success' and 'eliminating excess bureaucracy, cutting unneeded spending, and reducing inefficiencies in service delivery to put more money into classroom instruction without raising taxes.'
"House Bill 4006 is consistent with those recommendations by reinforcing our principals as the instructional leader of their schools and empowers them, in consultation with their teachers, to determine what professional development is most relevant for their needs. State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine has estimated approximately $4 million in annual efficiencies for the programs the Department of Education would administer under this legislation.
"Sadly I believe we’re witnessing a desperate attempt by a bureaucracy that was first recommended for elimination by Governor Caperton in 1991, just a few years after its creation, to preserve itself. While I’m hopeful that West Virginia’s economy is beginning to turn the corner, the goal of making our public education system more efficient, from top to bottom, so that tax dollars can be better spent educating our children remains."