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Gov. Justice issues statement following waiver approval from U.S. Department of Education

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Education announced it had approved West Virginia's maintenance of effort waiver request, and no federal funds will need to be returned.

As I said all along, I knew this was not going to be a problem. 

So, while we are all pleased the U.S. Department of Education accepted our waiver because we made it clear that education is a top priority in West Virginia, this announcement came as no surprise and was never a real issue.

When confronted with this same issue last year, our request was approved following a detailed explanation of our education spending, including salary increases for teachers, funding for our thriving Communities In Schools West Virginia program, and a $50 million allocation to the School Building Authority.

Given this precedent, my administration remained very confident this year's waiver would again be approved because we only increased our educational commitments, implementing another pay raise for teachers and school personnel, furthering support for Communities In Schools West Virginia, and allocating a historic $150 million to the School Building Authority.

We've made substantial improvements to our education system. These investments are exactly what the U.S. Department of Education was looking for during their review, and I'm genuinely thankful these funds are directly benefiting our schools, teachers, and students instead of going back to Washington, D.C. 

Additionally, these investments have also sparked hundreds of construction jobs across our state as we work on building and repairing schools. All in all, we're creating jobs, nurturing our students, and supporting our educators.

However, I have one more point. The potential of a 'clawback' should never have been used to scare anyone. That narrative only distracts from the positive progress we have made as a state. Let us put this issue to bed and continue making West Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

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