Three W.Va. educators unions aim legal challenges of omnibus education bill at charter schools

By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s three unions for educators are lining up to challenge charter schools in court.

So far, the West Virginia Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers-WV and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association have been acting individually in filing 30-days notice of their intent to sue the state.

But over time their legal challenges may be consolidated into one case in West Virginia’s court system.

“My guess would be the court would put them together,” said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association.

And, although charter schools were part of a much broader bill, the legal challenges are likely to hone in on that issue. A major part of that legal strategy would be attempting to ensure that other aspects of the bill, such as increased financial support for the public school system, would not be sacrificed.

“I think when you file the actual suit it will be clearly defined,” Lee said.

The school service personnel union filed its 30-days notice to sue on Oct. 31. AFT-WV has been preparing its notice, with leaders saying it will be filed soon.

The WVEA filed its intent to sue over a broad-ranging education bill in July but has not yet actually filed suit.

The WVEA was poised to challenge a range of issues in an omnibus education bill that was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by the governor in June.