The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

January 28, 2013

Fayette forum includes education, health

FAYETTEVILLE — Citizens of Fayette County and their representatives came together to discuss education, health care, and the state’s economic future at a legislative forum hosted Thursday by Fayette Fair Share.

Attendees heard presentations by representatives from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and the West Virginia Education Association.

Fayette Fair Share is a political action committee (PAC) focused on social issues whose priority is “to bring economic security and opportunity to middle class families while creating the conditions necessary for more families to join the middle class.”

Their focus this legislative season is correctional reform, Medicaid expansion, protection of voter rights and passage of Fayette County’s excess levy for schools.

Ted Boettner, who directs the Center on Budget and Policy, discussed The Future Fund initiative, an effort to save a portion of natural resource severance tax income for future economic development and infrastructure projects, as other states across the country have done.

The fund is an effort to ensure that West Virginia reaps long-term benefits from short-term mineral extraction and maintains some degree of economic consistency within the boom-bust cycle associated with the energy industries.

The group proposes using the interest of the fund “to provide an ongoing stream of revenue to help meet the challenges of the future.”

Boettner said the idea has received broad support from legislators and governments across the state. He said the only reservations he has heard were from a county that liked the idea but said they needed all their coal severance money for immediate budgetary maintenance.

The fund’s advocates ask that people contact their legislators and let them know the issue is a priority.

Attendees also heard about Medicaid expansion from Perry Bryant of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVACH), who says that if Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin approves the expansion, 120,000 additional West Virginians will gain access to health insurance coverage.

Currently, a family of three that earns 31 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) is eligible; the measure, which is in the Affordable Care Act, would increase that threshold to $26,300.

“This is a fundamental decision, and it’s also a decision of fairness,” said Bryant.

If the governor does not approve the expansion, those who earn less than the FPL would also not receive a subsidy for buying coverage, but someone earning 400 percent of the FPL would, according to WVACH.

“I don’t think that’s what West Virginians believe is right, and I hope it’s not what the governor believes,” said Bryant.

Finally, Dave Haney gave a defense of the WVEA’s response to the recent audit of West Virginia’s school system.

“We’re not opposed to the audit ... but I don’t think it’s the answer to all the problems we have in public education,” he said.

The WVEA’s position is that the audit, based on three sample counties, was not “comprehensive” and doesn’t reflect the state’s diverse school systems.

Haney also says that the report, in some cases, doesn’t address the right issues. He says it focuses on operational efficiencies over student achievement as reflected in underlying issues like curriculum, parent involvement, truancy, class size and alternative education.

The WVEA agrees with audit findings related to relevant staff development, reorganization of the state Department of Education, finding a focused role for RESA, teacher recruitment and incentives, and other issues, said Haney.

“Our audit response reflects teachers’ frustrations over being bashed day in and day out from all levels of government and being confronted with the lack of parental involvement,” Haney said.

For more information on Fayette Fair Share, visit Fayette Fair Share on Facebook.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Local News
  • fire 127-acre Gorge fire ‘definitely suspicious’

    A thick, gray haze hung in the air, making everything look like it was being seen through a dirty window pane. A deep breath would fill your lungs with a smell that didn’t seem devastating. It was warm and comforting, like a campfire. The heavy winds would drag soot and smoke right into your eyes. Every one of your senses would be attacked at once.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • MSHA cuts levels of allowable coal dust

    The Obama administration said Wednesday it is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease.

    April 24, 2014

  • Budget decreases in family programs cut close to home

    Celena Roby has spent the last six years looking over her shoulder just in case she sees him — the man who abused her for 11 years and who held her captive in a bathroom while her two children begged him not to hurt their mother.

    April 24, 2014

  • Sam Black water project put on hold

    A proposal to extend the boundaries of Greenbrier County Public Service District (PSD) No. 2 is on hold for at least a couple of weeks, sidelined by questions raised at a hearing Tuesday evening.

    April 24, 2014

  • forum Candidates speak at Oak Hill breakfast forum

    Senate gridlock on both the state and national levels and government transparency dominated conversations at the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce “Meet the Candidates” forum Wednesday at Holiday Lodge.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police believe man shot himself to avoid going to jail

    A Richwood resident was arrested Wednesday on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and providing false information to the State Police.

    April 24, 2014

  • Fayette BOE candidates discuss consolidation, state control

    Consolidation and state control were two heavy-hitting talking points among the five nonpartisan candidates running for a seat on Fayette County’s Board of Education Wednesday at the “Meet the Candidates” forum at Holiday Lodge in Oak Hill.

    April 24, 2014

  • Stanaford store robbed Tuesday

    The search is on for a male suspect who allegedly robbed the Smith’s Corner Packette on Stanaford Road in Piney View.

    April 24, 2014

  • Seatbelt battle Greater Beckley Christian wins high school seatbelt competition

    Greater Beckley Christian School has won the “Battle of the Belts” high school seat-belt competition for 2014, according to Lt. Paul Blume, coordinator of the West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Calendar — Thursday, April 24, 2014

    April 24, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide