Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's bill to usher in education reform is reverberating throughout West Virginia months after it passed.
The West Virginia Board of Education met June 13 and voted unanimously to seek public comment on a new teacher hiring and transfer policy.
Policy 5000, which was called for in the education reform bill, will be open to public comment for 30 days, and it will be come effective within that same time period, according to a news release from the WVBOE.
"Principals and teachers have always been accountable for student achievement but have felt they were restricted in their ability to build a school teaching team," WVBOE Vice Presicent Gayle Manchin said in a news release. "The new hiring practices policy empowers teachers and gives them a voice for the first time in building this team."
But the state's teachers unions are expressing their concerns about the policy.
The policy gives schools options related to establishing a Faculty Senate Committee, and teachers on those committees will be asked to review applicants for positions within their facilities and then to make a joint recommendation to the principals and county superintendents.
Christine Campbell, President of AFT-WV, the state's largest union, spoke during the BOE meeting. She said the union was happy to see sections of the policy that will empower teachers to have a significant role in hiring decisions. However, she said other sections in the policy appeared to suspend the due process rights of employees, and that section was changed during the meeting after some discussion, according to information from AFT-WV.
"While the union still has some concerns with the proposed policy, Campbell expressed her willingness to work with the Board to address them, and is optimistic about future revisions to the policy," reads a statement from AFT-WV.
WVBOE member Lloyd Jackson said the new policy is a "substantial change," in how teachers are hired in West Virginia.
"The public should understand that if teachers, in a meaningful process, recommend a candidate to fill a teaching position and the principal and superintendent agree that person will be hired," Jackson said in the release. "Teachers know what their students and schools need, so why not allow them to participate in hiring decisions."