KEYSER - A special public meeting to discuss recommendations on how the state's legislators can help make West Virginia public schools better has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, at Frankfort High School.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - A special public meeting to discuss recommendations on how the state’s legislators can help make West Virginia public schools better has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, at Frankfort High School.
The meeting comes on the heels of the contentious legislative session in which lawmakers spent much time on a massive education reform bill which wound up dividing the state and resulted in another, although much shorter, teacher walkout in February.
The bill eventually died, but Gov. Jim Justice then called for a special session for the purpose of once again taking up education reform. In that call for a special session, which has not yet been scheduled, the Governor urged the lawmakers to go back to their districts and listen to the concerns of their county educators.
In fact, what educators saw as a lack of input in the development of the bill was one of the major reasons the teachers walked out in protest.
Mineral County Board of Education vice president Mary Jane Baniak had expressed her frustration last month with the lack of meetings between educators and legislators to discuss how to work together to improve the state’s school system.
To help avoid that being a problem for the special legislative session, Baniak announced Tuesday that a local meeting had been set up to discuss the issue, since the closest statewide meeting scheduled by the West Virginia Department of Education is in Berkeley Springs.
“I’ve had a couple teachers approach me and see if we could have a Mineral County meeting,” she said, adding that the goal for the meeting is to “identify five basic issues for Mineral County and take that to Berkeley Springs.”
Baniak also noted that there are a lot of surveys being circulated in order to gather input for the legislators, and she encouraged teachers, service personnel, and parents to “take all the surveys you can take and attend all the meetings you can.”
The Mineral County meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at Frankfort High School and is open to the entire county.
The Berkeley Springs meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. at Berkeley Springs High School.
According to the WVDE, the meetings will include a short presentation followed by roundtable discussions in small groups.
For more information on the state-sponsored meetings, contact Kristin Anderson at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.