CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia Association of School Administrators (WVASA) has come out against amendments 2 and 4, which will be on West Virginia ballots this November.
Doddridge County Schools Superintendent Adam Cheeseman also serves as the president of the WVASA.
Amendment 2, if passed, would alter the West Virginia constitution to give the State Legislature control of 27% of the revenue generated by tangible personal property tax on vehicles and other personal property that is used for strictly business purposes. The legislature is expected to give businesses a tax cut with that control; but as the WVASA pointed out in its statement Thursday, “There is no ratified, public legislative plan for what the legislature intends to do if Amendment 2 is passed, and, as such, there is no consensus, no agreement, and are no stated objectives that voters can read to understand the intended impact of the passage of Amendment 2 on the educational system and other essential county and city services before they cast their vote.”
The revenue currently goes to local governments to fund public services, and many of them have raised concerns that if Amendment 2 passes, they will need to cut some of those services or raise other taxes. Harrison County has predicted that it will lose more than $18 million if the amendment is passed.
In its statement, the WVASA estimated that more than $500 million statewide would be “placed at risk and could be stripped away” if Amendment 2 passes.
On the other side, business interests like the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) have said that passing Amendment 2 would make the Mountain State a more attractive spot for businesses to settle, bringing in more revenue, jobs and people. If enough of those businesses move in, the WVMA argued it could actually raise tax revenues in the long run.
Amendment 4, if passed, would alter the state constitution so that any rules created by the West Virginia Board of Education could be overruled or changed by the state legislature.
According to the Cardinal Institute of West Virginia Policy, supporters of the amendment believe that it will put a further check on unelected portions of the state government.
“[Amendment 4] is actually making certain for those who elected us that we are overseeing and holding accountable, and that the laws that we do pass do get applied correctly,” Education Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patricia Rucker (R – Jefferson) told the Cardinal Institute.
Whereas opponents of the amendment argue that the changes would lead to the politicization of the classroom.
“I mean look at us. I mean, we can’t agree on a lot, but when we do agree, sometimes it changes from year to year. What’s that going to do to public education in this state?” Sen. Mike Romano (D-Harrison) told the Cardinal Institute.
The WVASA said it believes that education decisions are best left to experts and that Amendment 4 would take important decisions about schools away from experts.
This comes at a time when politics in the classroom has become a hot-button issue nationally, and in West Virginia, with students in Morgantown holding a walk-out over a Monongalia County Schools policy barring political symbols in classrooms that led to a pride flag getting taken down.
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