Education unions control state policy
Earlier this year, Kanawha County School Superintendent Ron Duerring testified before the Senate Education Committee that 200 to 300 of the county's 2,000 teachers abuse paid leave.
This helps drive the cost of substitutes to $4.6 million a year - $23 million over five years. That's money that cannot be spent for other purposes.
Duerring stressed that most Kanawha County teachers do not "burn" all 15 paid leave days just because they can. But those who do drive up costs and disrupt the continuity of students' education.
He said changing when leave time is credited - to 1.5 days per month instead of 15 days at the beginning of the year - could cut substitute costs in half.
How much money would that save statewide?
Vice Chairman Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, thought Duerring's suggestion made sense and sponsored legislation to that effect. Other state employees accrue paid leave a month at a time. Why not teachers?
But Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, branded this commonsense suggestion "another slap in the face" to teachers.
And on Thursday, members of the Senate Education Committee killed the bill.
Once again, legislators allowed teachers unions to control state policy.
How to look weak without trying.