CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A revised version of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's education reform bill is expected to include major concessions to teachers who have railed against the legislation in recent days.
The substitute bill won't include a major overhaul of teacher hiring practices under a compromise being discussed, according to those familiar with the negotiations. Teachers also won't be stripped of faculty senate days. And teachers affiliated with the national Teach of America program would have to follow the same rules as other beginning teachers in West Virginia.
"Teachers across the state have voiced their concerns loudly," said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association. "And I'm pleased to see that their voices are being heard."
Judy Hale, president of the American Federation of Teachers - West Virginia, also was optimistic about Tomblin's revised bill Thursday. Last week, she called Tomblin's legislation the "ugliest bill I've seen in 30 years."
"I'm very encouraged by the progress that has been made [Thursday]," Hale said. "I do believe now we're eventually going to get a good bill, a bill we can all feel comfortable with."
Senate Education Committee members postponed a vote on Tomblin's education reform bill until Tuesday afternoon. The committee is still fine-tuning and proofreading the substitute bill.
"We're getting pretty close to consensus, but we're not there yet," said Senate Education Committee Chairman Robert Plymale, D-Wayne. "I do not feel comfortable with it right now. This is a very complicated bill."
Rob Alsop, Tomblin's chief of staff, took part in the bill's negotiations Thursday afternoon.
"I think we're making progress," Alsop said. "We want to get the bill right."