Senate Bill No. 217
(By Senators Tomblin (Mr. President) and Sprouse
By Request of the Executive)
[Introduced January 27, 2000; referred to the Committee on
Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter five of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-six-b,
relating to setting forth legislative findings; creating West
Virginia educare; providing for appointment of a board of
directors; describing the powers and duties of the board;
describing the purposes and responsibilities of educare; and
abolishing the West Virginia study commission.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand
nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto
a new article, designated article twenty-six-b, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 26B. WEST VIRGINIA EDUCARE.
This article shall be known and may be cited as "West Virginia
§5-26B-2. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds that:
(a) Recent research on brain development in young children
shows that early experiences are important to future social,
emotional, physical and cognitive development;
(b) Early childhood development services for families with
preschool children are not widely available in the state; and
(c) The state is in need of a system capable of providing and
improving child care and educational opportunities for preschool
children, which will stimulate and maximize their growth and
§5-26B-3. West Virginia Educare.
West Virginia educare ("educare") is hereby created within the
office of the governor's cabinet on children and families for the
purpose of establishing, and coordinating with local areas, a
complement to education and care available to preschool children
with the goal of preparing them for school and lifelong learning.
Educare programs shall be phased in as funds become available and
may be introduced as pilot operations before statewide implementation.
Activities employed by educare in the implementation of its
educational programs shall include development of quality
standards, review of local collaborative agreements for approval
prior to funding, distribution of funds, technical assistance and
monitoring of funded programs and development of an evaluation
§5-26B-4. Board of directors.
(a) The administrative powers of educare shall be vested in a
board of directors consisting of eleven members, including the
state superintendent of schools, or his or her designee, the
secretary of health and human resources, or his or her designee,
the president of the West Virginia head start association, or his
or her designee, and eight individuals who shall be appointed by
the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate: Provided,
That no more than six members shall be members of the same
The directors shall annually elect one of their appointed
members as chairman. The directors shall appoint a person to serve
as secretary and as treasurer. The person appointed as treasurer
shall give a bond for the faithful performance as his or her
duties as custodian of all funds of educare in an amount set by the board. The board may elect such other officers from its staff as
it deems proper and prescribe their powers and duties.
Appointments to fill a vacancy of one of the appointed members
shall be made in the same manner as the original appointment.
(b) All appointed members of the board shall be from the
private sector, with at least one member of the board from each
congressional district, and shall represent the public interest
generally. At least five of the appointed members shall possess
such skills and experience as in the governor's opinion are
required to develop and manage the designed efforts and prescribed
purposes of educare.
(c) Appointed members of the board shall not be entitled to
compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for all
necessary expenses actually incurred in connection with the
performance of their duties as members.
(d) Six members of the board shall constitute a quorum and the
affirmative vote of the majority of members present at a meeting of
the board shall be necessary and sufficient for any action taken by
§5-26B-5. Powers of the board.
The board shall have the powers necessary or convenient to
carry out the purposes and provisions of this article, including, but not limited to the power:
(a) To establish, organize, promote, manage and oversee the
activities of educare and to offer related services through
(b) To encourage the development of collaborative agreements
on the community or county level for presentation to the board for
approval prior to funding;
(c) To invest its funds at the board's discretion with the
West Virginia investment management board in accordance with the
provisions of article six, chapter twelve of this code. Any such
investments shall be made with the care, skill, prudence and
diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that as a prudent
person acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters
would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and
with like aims;
(d) To distribute funds through contracts, grants and other
necessary instruments for necessary goods and services;
(e) To employ necessary personnel and to engage the services
of private persons for administrative and technical assistance in
carrying out the responsibilities of educare;
(f) To solicit and accept gifts, including bequests or other
testamentary gifts made by will, trust or other disposition, grants, loans, and other aids from any source or to participate in
any other way in any federal, state or local governmental programs
in carrying out the purposes of this article;
(g) To develop and implement standards that apply to all
providers and that complement existing federal regulations and
state policies and procedures which govern early child care and
(h) To evaluate, monitor and ensure compliance with educare
policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, authority
to withhold payment to providers;
(i) To develop and implement procedures to assess the
effectiveness of educare programs;
(j) To assure provision of technical assistance;
(k) To develop a phase-in plan for the implementation of
(l) To establish other policies, procedures and criteria
necessary to implement and administer the provisions of this
§5-26B-6. Board rules.
The board shall propose rules for legislative approval in
accordance with the provisions of article three-a, chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code. At a minimum, the rules shall provide for:
(a) Programs that avoid duplication and maximize the
effectiveness of qualified existing programs;
(b) The formation of written collaborative agreements among
different qualified programs to maximize existing resources and
ensure equity in the distribution of funds. The agreement or
agreements shall include assessment of existing needs and resources
and detail the operational issues and the role of existing service
providers under the collaborative agreements;
(c) Maximum utilization of federal, local and private funding
so as to complement state funding;
(d) High standards of service and performance for education,
child and family care programs;
(e) Full use of existing programs and services that meet
(f) Cost effective options that are consistent with the
(g) Approval of any county or community early childhood or
educare plan, determined through a local collaborative agreement,
prior to the authorization and receipt of funding;
(h) Evaluation of the results achieved by educare programs;
(i) Development of a plan for the reasonable implementation of
the provisions of the rule.
Participation in educare programs may be made available to
families with young children, subject to eligibility criteria and
processes to be established, which shall not create an entitlement
to such programs or any services offered within such programs.
§5-26B-8. West Virginia study commission.
The West Virginia study commission on services for young
children created pursuant to section eighteen-d, article five,
chapter eighteen is hereby abolished.
If any provision of this article or the application of the
article shall for any reason be adjudged by any court of competent
jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not invalidate the
remainder of the article, but shall be confined in its operation to
the provision directly involved in the controversy in which such
judgment shall have been rendered, and the applicability of the
provision to other circumstances shall not be affected.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish West Virginia
Educare for preschool children as a complement to available
education and care for preschool children.
This bill represents a new article, therefore, strike-throughs
and underscoring have been omitted.