Help us rally support against the amendments in your community
Near the end of your ballot, you will find two constitutional amendments that will greatly impact the funding and the policies used in our public schools. Amendments 2 and 4 will have a lasting impact in the future of our schools and how and what is taught. “If either Amendment 2 or 4 passes, they will have drastic negative impacts on our school systems and communities for years to come,” states WVEA President Dale Lee. “The harm to our students from the funding cuts of Amendment 2 and the policy implications in Amendment 4 will be enormous. We have to stand up to this power-hungry legislature by voting against the amendments and encouraging everyone we know to vote against them also,” said Lee.
Just as a reminder of what the amendments are about –
- Amendment 2 is designed to take the taxing authority away from the local governments and give it to the state legislature. The intent is for the legislature to then give a major tax cut to large, mostly out-of-state businesses. This tax cut will eliminate $515 million of local revenue used in the county for first responders, county government, schools, libraries, parks/recreation, senior services, etc.
- Amendment 4 is another power grab by the legislature. It will take power away from the State Board of Education and give control over public education to the legislature. This will allow the legislature to enact education policy and oversee the state board.
The tax cuts proposed in Amendment 2 would cripple county governments and school systems. The promises made by legislative leaders to give money back to the counties and make them whole is full of inconstancies and false assumptions.
“The budget surplus the legislature is touting is there because of one-time money from the federal government from the COVID relief acts. That money will not be there in the future and the legislature will not be able to sustain the $515 million dollars they promise to give back to counties in future years,” states Lee. “We know tax cuts are not what is needed to bring business into our state. The state has given away billions of dollars in tax cuts and businesses have not followed. This is simply a tax cut for their political donors.”
Amendment 2 is getting lots of attention. WVEA’s TV and social media campaign begins in mid-October but the supporters are already on the air. Television and mailboxes are being filled with information trying to get you to vote for the amendments.
“Those supporting the amendments have deep pockets and will be spending lots of money,” states WVEA Executive Director Kym Randolph. “Supporters running ads are those organizations and donors who will benefit the most – chamber of commerce, oil and gas industry, coal companies and Americans for Prosperity (the Koch brothers’ primary political advocacy group). Opponents of the amendment include education employees, county governments, first responders and concerned citizens. It is clearly a David versus Goliath matchup.”
“Fortunately, money doesn’t vote, people do! If we get word out about the amendments and work to get our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues out to vote, we can prevail,” says Randolph. Amendment 4 is getting less attention but is equally important to our public schools. It will directly impact the policies, curriculum and the direction that our schools will move.
“Amendment 4 would continue the assault on public education and education employees. I can’t think of a worse thing to happen to our public schools,” continues Lee. “The checks and balances are written into the constitution for a reason. This legislature wants control of everything, and they clearly have an agenda that is not in the best interest of the students and employees of our public schools.”
The attacks on public education from the legislature have not gone unnoticed. As a matter of fact, public schools have been in the crosshairs of the legislature for several years. “Statehouse Beat” reporter Phil Kabler made this observation about Amendment 4 in the October 9 Sunday Gazette-Mail:
“From petty annoyances, including eliminating payroll deductions for teacher union dues, to a blatant attempt to defund public schools with the patently unconstitutional Hope Scholarship voucher legislation, the vindictiveness of legislative leaders to professional educators has known no bounds. Giving the legislature authority over the state Board of Education would only hasten leadership’s efforts to dismantle public education in West Virginia.”
Based on bills introduced and nearly passed during the last legislative session giving the legislature control over our public schools is frightening. From censoring what is taught to forbidding masks during the pandemic, the legislature clearly has a partisan agenda and are not looking out for our students or educators.
A legislature that is hostile to traditional public education should not have full control of the system. It is that simple. Our schools and our students are not political pawns and politics have no place in the classroom. Everyone needs to band together to defeat Amendments 2 and 4. Talk to your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Let them know the disastrous impacts that Amendments 2 and 4 will have on our schools and communities.
Keep informed. The WVEA website has the latest information on the amendments. You will be able to find handouts, social media items at wvea.org/voteagainst2and4. Together we’re strong. Together we are heard. Together we can defeat Amendments 2 and 4!