How Will West Virginia Pay For Teachers' 5 Percent Raise?

Don't Look Now but the West Virginia Teacher Strike Is Spreading

West Virginia parents find ways for kids to fill days during teacher strike

Now all it needs is the governor's signature.

West Virginia teachers are paid less than teachers in 47 other states, apart from Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

The contract also covers more than 10,000 support staff. Justice said money will be found elsewhere in the budget to allow the state to provide a 5% pay hike to all state employees.

"All the focus should have always been on fairness and getting the kids back in school, " he said in the tweet. Schools are anticipated to be open for class again Wednesday.

West Virginia's teachers have been among the lowest paid in the nation and haven't had a salary increase in four years.

West Virginia's natural gas industry is "anxiously awaiting" Republican Gov. Jim Justice's signature on co-tenancy legislation that would modernize the mineral law and better accommodate unconventional development in the state.

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The deal is meant to end a teachers' strike that has canceled nine consecutive school days across the state. As of now, a long term solution to PEIA has not been established.

The mass walkout served as a warning to legislatures in other states and inspired teachers whose salaries also touch the pay floor. Given that about 75% of teachers are women nationwide and in West Virginia, this lack of investment in the educational pipeline appears to have a stranglehold on the state's ability to influence its own future positively.

The strike continued through the end of last week. But the Senate refused to go along, approving a 4 percent increase Saturday. The state House and Senate agreed to the compromise deal, after days of a legislative standoff regarding the pay raise percentage.

"It's enormous", Boothe told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. The 5 percent raise was granted by the legislature just earlier this morning.

A huge crowd of teachers packing the Capitol chanted jubilantly, sang John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and some even wept for joy at the settlement.

A conference committee of three state senators and three House of Delegate members sent the bill to the House first, where it passed 99-0.

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"These things come at a cost", Carmichael said during the conference committee. "We have cash in the balances in Medicaid that will absolutely backstop any cuts whatsoever from Medicaid".

"They are extremely excited, I have received many text messages you know about how much they miss the kids and they want to be in the classroom, but on the other side they need to stand firm and push for what they really believe in, it's a lesson for everybody", said Ohio County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kim Miller. "Don't do this on the backs of the Medicaid recipients".

As we have witnessed through the West Virginia strike that captured national news, teachers recognize the central role of the local school, which, for example, serves meals to children reliant on free breakfasts and lunches.

The last statewide raise for West Virginia occured in 2014, when educators saw a $1,000 annual pay increase and school service employees saw a two percent raise.

The West Virginia teachers called it a victory for students as well.

"We'll certainly be watching that", he said.

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