West Virginia Legislative Session WV Elections 2024

#159-Interview with Donna Joy-Candidate for Board of Education-Jefferson County WV

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Jefferson County Public Schools Levy Allocation Concerns
Richard and Donna discussed the excess levy in Jefferson County public schools, with concerns raised about the transparency of its allocation, specifically whether it was being used for teacher salaries as advertised. Donna confirmed that the levy did go towards teacher salaries but Richard interjected that only about two percent goes for teacher salaries.  Donna also highlighted critical challenges facing the school system, such as a shortage of teachers and service personnel, a lack of emphasis on student achievement and marketable skills, and issues with discipline policy.
State Education Policy and Concerns
Donna and Richard discussed a perceived shift in the county’s discipline policy, which they believed negatively impacted teachers and students. Donna mentioned that there may be a request for a new excess levy for schools before the voters this November, which she will verify.  Richard noted a disconnect between spending and performance, with schools spending more but not necessarily seeing improved results. They discussed the issue of students being disciplined and returned to class by administrators without consequences. Donna shared her personal experiences and concerns about the current education policies and practices.
Addressing Education System Issues and Solutions
Donna and Richard discussed the current educational system’s shortcomings, particularly concerning resource allocation and school performance. Donna mentioned that schools are evaluated on a point system, which could affect the reporting of discipline problems. She also advocated for increased accountability among students and a renewed focus on academics.
Addressing Jefferson County’s Educational Challenges
Donna and Richard discussed the educational challenges in Jefferson County, with Donna expressing concerns about inconsistent standards and the need for consistency across schools. Donna, as a board member, reiterated her commitment to accountability and transparency, and her belief in promoting high standards for all students. She also noted the classroom experience of the current superintendent. Richard appreciated
Poverty’s Impact on Virtual Education
Donna discussed online Jefferson Virtual Academy. They expressed concern about the high student-to-teacher ratio, with three teachers assigned to 26 kids, while in-person classes might have 30 students and one teacher. Donna advocated for higher standards and better measures of student achievement.
Election Anticipation and Budget Discussion
Donna indicated that the Superintendent prepares the budget, and it is approved by the Board of Education almost as a formality.
Declining Enrollment and School Choice Impact
Richard and Donna discussed the declining enrollment in local schools. Donna expressed that it is good for parents to have the choices in education, including public schools, the Hope Scholarship and the new charter school, especially since public schools have declined in performance in recent years.
Concerns Over Covid-19 Relief Funds
Donna expressed concerns about the use of funds, particularly regarding the creation of new positions and the payment of additional stipends in the School Board office, making it top-heavy. Richard agreed and noted that the Kanawha County school district has about twice as many students but a smaller amount of central office staff per student.  This prompted discussions on potential policy adjustments for the next year. Donna had contacted the superintendent to seek clarity on the intricacies of the stipend system, acknowledging that the lack of transparency could lead to confusion among the public.
School Choice and Improving Public Education
Donna expressed regret over the deterioration of the public school system, which has led to people seeking alternatives. She emphasized that options are necessary to create healthy competition and motivate improvements within the public school system.
Evaluating System Integrity and Culture
Richard asked about yet another teacher at Jefferson high school arrested for criminal sexual behavior.  Donna responded by stating that she had requested an independent evaluation of Jefferson High School from both the former and current Superintendent.  The purpose of the evaluation is to examine the culture that seemed to allow such incidents to occur annually since 2016.
West Virginia Legislative Session West Virginia Legislature West Virginia Politics

No Income Tax Reform; Focus on Constitutional Rights Instead

Governor, or “King” Justice, as some call him, wants to jack up sales and other taxes and give taxpayers government handouts, while proposing to eliminate personal income taxes.  While this might seem laudable at first glance, it is a smoke and mirrors game.

Our state has been severely hampered by unnecessary and burdensome, and unconstitutional mask mandates, business closure mandates and by limiting the capacity of businesses.  Even today, Jefferson County WV high schools are closed this week due to bogus COVID 19 statistics.  Children are at virtually zero risk from COVID 19.  Staff are not at risk either.  In fact, with proper treatment 99.9 % of those with COVID will recover.  COVID 19 is much less fatal for children than the flu.  Following this rationale, why did we not close schools periodically due to cases of the flu?

The best way to help our state is to remove unnecessary mandates.  HB 2003 will require legislative review for any mandates over 60 days and has passed the WV House of Delegates unanimously.  This bill needs to be brought to the floor of the Senate ASAP and amended to make it clear that the bill’s provisions apply to not only future mandates plus the current one.  Mask mandates discourage business.  And, of course, closing restaurants and making up random rules for their operation, as well as for other businesses’ operation, adversely affects businesses, including causing many small businesses to go out of business permanently.  Yet Governor Justice does not want to deal with these core issues, but rather wants to distract us with other, peripheral issues.

So, Governor Justice, stop the social posturing BS.  People will decide on their own whether or not they want to wear a mask.  Children need to be in school.  People need to interact in person without unnecessary and harmful government mandates.  By the way, why can eighth grade students be in school, but not ninth grade students?  What is the magical “scientific” formula behind that?

Specifically regarding the income tax proposal, many small businesses would not benefit in any case.  Schedule C income is not included.  Food grocery items will become taxable again, at 7.9%, after having just been removed from being taxable in 2013.  Food had also been added and removed from being taxed in West Virginia previously in 1981 and then taxed again in 1989.  Tax on food drives West Virginians to shop in neighboring states with no food tax. 

Governor Justice should focus on helping West Virginians to exercise their God-given freedoms, and not on dubious plans that increase taxes on essential items like food purchased at grocery stores.  Leave the income tax alone.  There are many more pressing issues, like restoring our Constitutional freedoms and ensuring voting integrity.

West Virginia Legislative Session West Virginia Legislature West Virginia Politics

Vaccine Choice Bills in the WV Legislature-2021

There are seven bills dealing with vaccination choice that have been introduced in the WV House or Senate.  All of them will provide some welcome relief from West Virginia’s authoritarian, one size fits all approach to immunizations. 

As a start, I suggest you contact your senators in support of SB 406, and contact your delegate in support of HB 2881.  Both remove the requirement to provide the harmful and unnecessary Hepatitus B vaccination to children before attending any West Virginia school, public or private.  Typically, this vaccination is given to newborn babies.  Mind you that the vaccination is for a sexually transmitted disease, and that this disease is nonexistent among those who are not having sexual intercourse or using IV drugs.  HB 2881 is in the House Health and Human Resources Committee chaired by Jeffrey Pack.

HB 2728 clarifies that the commissioner of Public Health shall not expand compulsory immunization requirements for school children without explicit Legislative authority, including the chair of the Health Committee.  Vaccination by administrative ruling added 11 to 13 doses of four vaccines to the West Virginia required vaccine schedule from 2008 to 2017. These vaccines alone have caused between 1740 to 17,400 serious adverse reactions requiring hospitalization and 290 to 2900 deaths in West Virginia. Current administrative rulings specify that all vaccines recommend by the ACIP panel are also recommended for West Virginia children. Furthermore, from 2008 to 2017 parents enrolling children in state licensed daycare were required to get HIB, pneumococcal (Prevnar), rotavirus and Hepatitus A vaccinations under penalty of law. These vaccinations were added by an administrative rule, were subsequently removed, but could be added again.  This bill is in the House Education Committee, chaired by Joe Ellington.

HB 2783 grants a physician to grant a child a medical exemption from the required immunizations for entering a school or a state-regulated child care center.  The position of Immunization Officer (added in 2015) is eliminated.  This bill is in the House Health and Human Resources Committee, chaired by Jeffrey Pack.

See all of the Vaccine Choice bills here.

Delegate Paul Espinosa (Shannondale):  Capitol:  (304) 340-3310  Cell:  (304) 268-4266

Delegate Wayne Clark (Charles Town)  Capitol:   (304) 340-3366  Cell:  (703) 786-7114

Delegate John Doyle (Shepherdstown)  Capitol:  (304) 340-3248 Hm:  (304) 876-1648

Delegate Joe Ellington (House Education Chair) (304) 340-3265

Delegate Jeff Pack (House Health Chair)

(304) 340-3269

Senator John Unger (Shepherdstown)  Capitol:  (304) 357-7933  Cell:  (304) 389-1866

Senator Patricia Rucker (Shannondale)  Capitol:  (304) 357-7957  Cell:  (304) 279-1619

Senator Mike Maroney (Senate Health and Human Resources Chair) (304) 357-7902

Originall posted at Vaccine Choice Bills in WV Legislature-2021 – Urban Life Training