(a) The Legislature finds the following:
(1) Students learn more through hands on, applied learning activities;
(2) Career technical education students have a much higher graduation rate than other students;
(3) Although thirty-seven percent of West Virginia middle and junior high school students are enrolled in a form of career technical education, the number has been dropping by approximately three thousand students per year; and
(4) As the benefits of career technical education have increased as academics have become more embedded in career technical education, it is important that career technical education opportunities be increased at the middle and junior high school level.
(b) "Comprehensive middle school" means a middle or junior high school that meets the definition of a comprehensive middle school established by the state board. The definition of a comprehensive middle school shall be established by the state board in a legislative rule promulgated in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The definition shall include at least the following:
(1) A comprehensive curriculum that:
(A) Includes the core subjects in English/language arts, mathematics, science, social studies;
(B) Provides students with engaging learning opportunities where students are provided connections between what they are learning and what they will learn in high school and beyond;
(C) Establishes the foundation for college and career readiness;
(D) Embeds career exploration and project based career activities where possible to provide all student with comprehensive career development and counseling;
(E) Provides career technical options for students that are integrated with academic course requirements where possible; and
(F) Provides authentic opportunities in the visual and performing arts, health and wellness, physical education, world languages and career technical activities;
(2) Harnessing the power of technology to provide personalized learning twenty-four hours per day and seven days per week and produce a digital individualized student portfolio of student mastery and progression; and
(3) A seamless integration with the secondary school curriculum that enables students to further explore their options and further pursue their career interests at the secondary and post-secondary levels.
(c) When planning the construction of a middle or junior high school which has been approved by the authority and which meets the required authority efficiencies, the authority shall provide funding for a comprehensive middle school that includes comprehensive career technical education facilities to be located, when feasible, on the same site as the middle or junior high school.
(d) Upon application of a county board to construct comprehensive career technical education facilities that would allow an existing middle or junior high school to become a comprehensive middle school, the authority will provide technical assistance to the county in developing a plan for construction of the comprehensive career technical education facility. Upon development of the plan, the authority shall consider funding based on the following criteria:
(1) The ability of the county board to provide local funds for the construction of the comprehensive career technical education facilities;
(2) The size of the existing middle and junior high schools;
(3) The age and physical condition of the existing career technical education facilities;
(4) The potential for improving in the graduation rate; and
(5) Such other criteria as the authority shall consider appropriate.