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W.Va. candidates discuss their education views

October 06, 2000

W.Va. candidates discuss their education views



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - While Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend highlighted Al Gore's public education agenda here Thursday, West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob Wise and 2nd Congressional District candidate Jim Humphreys offered their visions.

Wise and Humphreys joined Townsend for a short roundtable discussion with Berkeley County public school teachers and students to talk about priorities in education.

Wise said the Clinton and Gore administration has fought to add more teachers to growing school systems, but the efforts have "been blocked by Congress. We need to get that through," Wise said.

Regarding state funding for construction of new schools, Wise said in an interview after the discussion that the state should revisit the issue.

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He said additional funding for new schools likely would be tightly controlled by the Recht decision, a 1982 Kanawha County Circuit Court ruling that said educational funding to all the state's counties must be equal.

On the other hand, it is obvious the state is just "limping along" in meeting the needs of growing school districts, Wise said.

Humphreys, who is seeking the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said it is estimated that 60,000 new schools are needed across the country. There are also schools that are not wired for computers and schools that are not safe for kids, Humphreys said.

There are policy makers in Washington, D.C. that favor abolishing the U.S. Department of Education, Humphreys said.

After the discussion at the library, Townsend, Wise and Humphreys went across the street to the public square at King and Queen streets for a rally.

About 60 people gathered to cheer on the three Democrats as they gave speeches.

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