Measuring up: Is West Virginia ready for charter schools?

The question of whether West Virginia should join the majority of states in allowing charter schools consumed much of the Legislature’s time in its regular and special sessions this year. After long debate, the Legislature allowed public charter schools on a limited basis.

That could have settled the question, but the debate continues now that it has moved from the Legislature to the state Board of Education and to the counties.

On Sept. 4, a group of state and county education officials met behind closed doors at Parkersburg’s Blennerhassett Hotel to discuss the implementation of the new charter schools legislation. As reported in the Sunday Gazette-Mail, the state board must vote to put proposed policies out for at least a 30-day public comment period, then the board must vote on enacting policies.


“We need to gather some information, put it in a draft of some sort in terms of policy, and we want to have that to you by October — it’s a swift timeline — and build an extra month in for a lot of discussion because this will be a hot topic,” state Schools Superintendent Steve Paine said in April, as quoted in the Gazette-Mail story.