Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

No raise, no school for W. Va. teachers

No raise, no school for W. Va. teachers

It wasn't immediately clear whether all 55 county school systems would reopen.

Lawrence Messina, a spokesman for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said more than 5,000 people had arrived by noon.

"But the Senate then, mistakenly, passed the House version of the bill with the 5 percent raise, rather than the 4 percent version".

More than 277,000 students were out of the classroom for nine school days as teachers pressed for higher salaries in West Virginia, where pay ranks near the bottom for USA teachers. The Senate followed, voting 34-0. Special ed students have been meeting with district help at a local McDonalds, and administrators and local social service agencies have arranged take-home bags of food for children who receive free lunch during the school day, with menus created to be simple enough that the students can prepare the food for themselves. However, the Senate also approved an amendment to the title of the bill that will require approval by the House of Delegates.

He says it's time to "quite playing politics" and "get our kids back to school". Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair said they'll need to cut state spending by $20 million to pay for the raises by taking funds from general government services and Medicaid.

The union representing West Virginia teachers says their strike - begun February 22 - will extend at least through Monday, if not longer, after the state Senate failed to pass the raise teachers are holding out for. And I thank our teachers and school service personnel, who absolutely are to be credited for this milestone - by standing up, standing strong, and keeping our state's young people at the forefront of this fight.

Lawmakers from the state Senate and House convened Monday afternoon to try to reach an agreement that meets teachers' demands.

Now the matter now goes to a six-member House-Senate conference committee, which is set to convene at 11 a.m. Monday.

"This wrangling needs to stop right now", Justice said. The earlier deal would have provided a smaller raise for state workers than the one detailed on Tuesday. Opposing the suggestion of their union leader to return to work, teachers made a decision to continue their strike.

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The Republican-controlled Senate voted Saturday evening to approve the lower pay raise, bucking teachers, Republican Gov. Jim Justice and the Republican-controlled House, which approved the 5 percent raise Wednesday.

He said Tuesday that additional budget cuts by his staff will enable all state workers to also get 5 percent raises.

"I'm here to ask why is it that teachers are "greedy" because we would like to have a living wage and we are "ignoring our students" and 'the kids are what's important, '" Mariano said.

"Because of how much they do for us, it's only fair for us to try to give back to them and show them that they're not alone in this", said Maxwell Stewart, a senior at Fairmont Senior High School in Marion County.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist said school districts across the state are working with the Oklahoma Education Association, a state education advocacy organization, to come up with a solution so a strike can be avoided.

Justice, the state's House and union leaders agreed late last week on the raise that would have ended the job action but the Senate claimed West Virginia did not have the money to pay for the raise.

Teachers are protesting pay that's among the lowest in the nation, rising health care costs and a previously approved 2 percent raise for next year after four years without any increase.

Governor Justice's original proposal was to raise pay by five percent. He noted it was only preliminary.

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