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Education Bill Public Hearings Crowded With Teachers, Parents, Union Officials

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Dozens of speakers have crammed the first of two public hearings on a complex education bill in West Virginia that teachers’ unions claim is retaliation for a nine-day strike last year.

Teachers, parents, education and union officials, and students were given 70 seconds each to speak on the bill during a two-hour hearing Monday morning in the House of Delegates chambers in Charleston. Another hearing was set for Monday evening.

Many at the fast-paced hearing opposed proposals to establish charter schools and education savings accounts for families to pay for private schools. The Senate and the House education committee have passed different versions of the bill.

Unions representing teachers and school service workers announced Saturday the authorization of a statewide action if needed in response to the legislation.