CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Senate Democrats announced dates for a listening tour, "Keep the Promise: Civil Dialogue Regarding Public Education in West Virginia," that they say has been designed in response to Gov. Jim Justice's call for a special legislative session focusing on educational betterment.

"Education affects everyone, so we want to hear from everyone — students, parents, teachers, local businesses, service personnel, grandparents and community leaders," said Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, in a news release. "We plan to listen at these events — listen actively and intently to your ideas for enhancing education. That didn't happen with the omnibus education bill, so we want to set a new tone where everyone has a seat at the table."

Meetings essentially will follow a town hall format, according to the release, with the public being given a chance to share their ideas and input and elected officials primarily listening.

"'Keeping the Promise' refers not only to the pay raise promised by the governor and Senate leadership to teachers and service personnel before the election, but also to the constitutional mandate of the state to provide a thorough and efficient public education," said Sen. Paul Hardesty, D- Logan, in the release. "It's something we're united behind as a caucus."

Locally, meetings have been set for 6 p.m. on the following dates:

• March 26: Valley Park Conference Center in Hurricane, Putnam County

• April 2: North Charleston Community Center, Kanawha County

• April 4: Logan High School Little Theater, Logan County


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