WV Senate President Jeff Kessler introduced his Future Fund legislation into the WV Senate on January 31. Specifically, Senate Bill 461 creates a framework for the fund. The bill, which went to the Finance committee on February 6, calls for
- Setting aside 25 percent of the revenues collected from oil and gas severance taxes for the in Future Fund, once those revenues exceed $175 million
- Holding the principle in the Future Fund for six years before it can be allocated for use
- Allowing voters to determine how funds can be spent via a Constitutional Amendment (possibly as early as November of 2014). One possible use: raising teacher salaries.
This legislation could have consequences for teacher salaries. This is significant because WV salaries (at all levels) are some of the lowest in the country. Without competitive salaries, it is very difficult to recruit and retain good teachers in critical need areas such as English and Language Arts (especially in the southern counties).
If voters will have a say in determining how funds are to be spent, English teachers may want to advocate for more professional learning about learning for teachers across the subject areas.