CHARLESTON \u2014 Just a few minutes after a coalition of educators asked to slow down a broad-ranging education bill for a full hearing, the Senate majority voted to bypass what normally would have been the next step in the committee process.\r\n\r\nThe education bill instead will be considered by the full Senate, acting as a committee.\r\n\r\nDebate over the motion made by Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, lasted about half an hour.\r\n\r\nMembers of the Republican majority rose and said considering the bill this way will allow all senators to hear discussion and expert testimony, even those who don\u2019t serve on the education or finance committees.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt is important that the entire body look at this,\u201d Takubo said.\r\n\r\nDemocrats protested at the rare nature of this move \u2014 one that Republicans acknowledged has only been done in 1961 and 1917.\r\n\r\nThe Democrats contended that the committee process works and that consideration by the Finance Committee is appropriate considering the likelihood of vast financial effects of the education bill.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019ve been here 30 years. I\u2019ve never seen this,\u201d said Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion. \u201cWhy don\u2019t we just close down the entire committee system, which is the foundation of this body, and bring every bill to the floor?\u201d\r\n\r\nAll that unfolded just minutes after a coalition of educators gathered to push for more careful consideration.\r\n\r\nThe groups included two teachers unions and the service personnel union, plus associations representing superintendents, high school principals and elementary and middle school principals.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhere were we when this bill was being constructed?\u201d asked Mickey Blackwell, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe weren\u2019t being consulted, we weren\u2019t being called, we weren\u2019t being notified. We were only hearing rumor, and we were not being contacted by our legislators. We have grave concerns about the democratic process here in West Virginia.\u201d\r\n\r\nTheir appearance came one year after a statewide teachers walkout that closed school for nine days. Those who gathered Monday said educators have no desire to close schools again, but they did not rule out the situation coming to that.\r\n\r\nThe bill combines the promised pay raises for teachers and other public employees along with provisions for charter schools.\r\n\r\nThe bill would also let teachers bank personal days for retirement credit. It would give counties greater latitude in paying some teachers more for in-demand expertise. It would require teachers to sign off annually on union dues. It would allow for Educational Savings Accounts.\r\n\r\nThe bill raises maximum class sizes from 25 students to 28.\r\n\r\nIt stipulates that if there\u2019s a work stoppage that closes schools, those involved would not be paid.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s all tied together with a non-severability clause, saying that if any part of the bill is struck down then it would all be void.\r\n\r\nOfficial discussion about the education bill just began last Thursday when it was described for an hour in Senate Education.\r\n\r\nDebate then continued during five hours on Friday before the Senate Education committee. Democrats on that committee said that was still not enough time to discuss the full scope of the bill.\r\n\r\nAbout two hours of that meeting were devoted to testimony by backers of charter schools and educational savings accounts. The first half hour went toward concerns that senators did not have proper copies of the bill to follow along as described by staff counsel.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe speed at which the bill advanced is concerning and begs the question why,\u201d said Blaine Hess of the\u00a0The\u00a0West Virginia Association\u00a0of School Administrators.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhy did committee members have so little time to review the legislation and to talk with their constituents? Why were members of the education community not asked to address the bill?\u201d\r\n\r\nAs the bill passed out of Senate education about 6:30 p.m.Friday, Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair made a motion for it to be passed first to the full Senate with a recommendation that it be referenced to finance.\r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/www.wvlegislature.gov\/committees\/senate\/SenateCommittee.cfm?Chart=fin">The membership\u00a0<\/a>of that committee includes 10 Republicans: Takubo, Blair, vice-chairman Kenny Mann, Donna Boley, Bill Hamilton, Mike Maroney, Rollan Roberts, Chandler Swope, Dave Sypolt and Eric Tarr.\r\n\r\nIt includes seven Democrats: Prezioso Doug Facemire, Bill Ihlenfeld, Corey Palumbo, Bob Plymale, Ron Stollings and John Unger.\r\n\r\nMann, R-Monroe, who was the education chairman last year. He was moved this year and replaced by Senator Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, as the education chair. He was widely viewed as not always in step with the rest of the Republican caucus on some education issues.\r\n\r\nMann\u00a0<a href="https:\/\/www.wvgazettemail.com\/news\/politics\/short-of-votes-senate-leaders-move-to-skip-review-of\/article_b09a48e5-b260-5da3-acf7-dd52ddf99b33.html">expressed doubt<\/a>\u00a0about the big education bill to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.\r\n\r\n\u201cAt this point with this bill, I\u2019m just not convinced that this is the right approach,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nHamilton, R-Randolph, was elected this year with support from teachers unions after serving for many years in the House of Delegates. Hamilton wrote on his Facebook page this weekend that he does not support the education bill.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt seems to me the leadership here is afraid the committee system is not working,\u201d Prezioso said.\r\n\r\nHess, who is superintendent of Jackson County schools, was seated in the gallery when the Senate voted to bypass Finance and consider the bill as a committee of the whole.\r\n\r\n\u201cCertainly you wonder why they are bypassing Senate Finance,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\n\u201cWere they concerned that it didn\u2019t have the traction there? I really don\u2019t know. Certainly it needs a vetting. While it seems curious we\u2019re not going through the normal process of the committees, if this gives a chance for further vetting we\u2019ll be interested in watching and listening.\u201d\r\n\r\nSenate President Mitch Carmichael told reporters after the floor session that the committee of the whole will meet in the chamber once a fiscal note is ready. He said he would name a chairman and other committees would be canceled.\r\n\r\nCarmichael disagreed with the assertion that the move was made to bypass Finance, saying he did not know how a vote there would have gone. He left open the possibility of West Virginia educators testifying before the full Senate.