KEYSER - Two delegates who represent Mineral County have spoken out in response to Mineral County Board of Education member Mary Jane Baniak's comments last week that the legislators should have discussed the proposed education bill with county educators before voting it down.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Two delegates who represent Mineral County have spoken out in response to Mineral County Board of Education member Mary Jane Baniak’s comments last week that the legislators should have discussed the proposed education bill with county educators before voting it down.
Baniak, during the Feb. 19 board meeting, expressed her frustration that Delegates Gary Howell, Ruth Rowan and John Paul Hott had voted against tabling the bill, which in effect killed the legislation before it could be passed.
Although the bill offered a 5 percent pay raise for teachers, it also included a number of issues which concerned educators, including the establishment of charter schools.
The Mineral County BOE passed a resolution urging the legislators to vote down the bill, but Baniak pointed out that the board was “not contacted by any of our representatives or any of our senators to see why we were not supporting it.”
Del. Rowan said, however, she had corresponded via email with superintendent Shawn Dilly, discussing “concerns in Mineral County Schools.”
She also said she had met with the Hamsphire County superintendent and four board members, who traveled to Charleston to see her.
“We met at length and they even provided me with documentation of the needs,” she wrote in a letter which appears on page A4 of today’s paper.
“Had you called, I would have given you the same opportunity to voice your concerns for Mineral County Schools,” she said.
According to Del. Gary Howell, he did meet with Dilly.
“County superintendent Shawn Dilly came to my office in Charleston and we had a good discussion on the bill,” he writes in his column, also on page A4 of today’s paper.
“The main part of the discussion was how the information that many were getting from the internet was completely wrong, including what he had been told.”
Rowan said she had been looking forward to continuing to work on fine-tuning the bill, and that is why she voted against tabling it.
“There was good in the bill,” she said, citing “funding for more student support personnel, school counselors’ primary purpose to support students with academic, social and emotional needs, and $5 million for Innovation Zones.”
Calling the education bill “one of the most researched bills in my career in the legislature,” Howell said he felt he knew “what good things to fight for” if they had been given the opportunity to work on it further.