16 March 2010

Manchin "Determined" to Call Special Session

Now calling an upcoming special session a certainty, Gov. Joe Manchin is also keeping up the pressure on the state Department of Education to shape its agenda, The Associated Press reports.

Envisioning a session that focuses "on the larger goal of improving schools and student achievement," Manchin also continues to challenge state school officials over West Virginia's "failure earlier this month to become a finalist" for Race to the Top federal education grants," the article said.

"If a team has a losing season, people want better results," Manchin told AP, adding later that, "I'm not blaming. I'm just saying that if you're in charge and it's not happening, you'd better change."

Manchin had not been as definite recently about the chances for a special session, as AP and The Register-Herald of Beckley reported.

"A May special session appears likely," AP reports in its update. "Facing a June 1 deadline to apply for the second round of grants, West Virginia officials expect to learn early next month why the first attempt missed the mark."

That article also reports that "Manchin also said Monday that the special session's agenda should include the state's massive funding shortfall involving future retiree health care costs. He noted that teachers and school workers have been promised much of these other-post employment benefits, or OPEB."

Manchin also addressed comments he made last week about the state Board of Education, which had prompted coverage by the Charleston Daily Mail (and a follow-up here).

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