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BOE corrects Carmichael — it’s not in favor of charter schools

State Senate President Mitch Carmichael didn’t batten down any votes Tuesday night from the Monongalia County Board of Education.

Carmichael, R-Jackson, has long championed West Virginia’s controversial education omnibus bill that narrowly cleared Senate chambers the night before.

That was by a stormy 18-16 vote — complete with a tornado warning and other severe weather raging outside.

Twenty-four hours later, Carmichael said he was confident that county boards of education across the state would grant blue skies for charter schools, one of the bill’s thornier provisions.

The bill calls for the possibility of three charter schools by 2023, with potentially three more every three years.
School boards, however, have to sign their approval first.

In a terse exchange between him and protesting teachers caught on smartphone video in Charleston last week, the lawmaker said the protestors were denying the option of choice to parents and students across the state.

“What county wants that?” one teacher asked.

“Mon County,” the senator replied.

Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr., though, sent off another statement to Charleston reminding lawmakers of his board’s stance on the issue after that video was shared on social media.

“Did he put out any kind of clarification?” board member Nancy Walker wanted to know of the senator.

The superintendent said that wasn’t necessary.

“He didn’t actually say Mon County Schools,” Campbell said. “He didn’t say it was us.”

For now, the superintendent said, he’s awaiting additional communication from Charleston explaining the charter school process even more.

And charter schools or no, there’s still an upcoming academic year.

Students here go back in late August, and technology director Chris Urban said each one will have a Google Chromebook with his or her name on it.

The county went online with the technology three years ago, and Urban is readying to buy a new crop and will begin recycling the older machines to the younger grades.

There are currently 8,190 Chromebooks in the district inventory, she said, and all have remained fairly unscathed.

“A charger got eaten by a goat one time,” she said, as board members chuckled.

“It is what it is.”