CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In the end, it wasn’t even close. On a vote of 89 to 8, the House of Delegates approved a 5% pay raise for teachers and school support staff.
The vote comes after a two-day teachers strike this week in which educators objected to inclusions of charter schools and education savings accounts.
Some lawmakers say the teachers don’t deserve a pay raise for striking. But supporters say the teacher pay needs to be competitive with neighboring states.
“It will show that the state respects our teachers. It will show we will stand by our Governor’s word. He said that our teachers deserve a pay raise. They deserve a liveable wage,” said Del. Danielle Walker, (D) Monongalia.
“I’m 110-percent behind the police. In fact, I’d give them a 10-percent raise if we could. Unfortunately, they’re stuck in a bill here, where we’re going to give a pay raise to people who walked off the job,” said Del. Tom Bibby, (R) Berkeley.
Much of the opposition to the Education Reform Bill and the resulting strike, had to do with the inclusion of Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts known as ESAs. After the House gutted them, the Senate increased them in the bill:
“Who knows what the Senate is going to do. You know they played game the whole time with the teachers and students and faculty and staff. I just hope that they accept this clean bill. Let’s pass it. Let’s move forward,” said Del. Doug Skaff, (D) Kanawha.
Many Republicans ultimately voted for the pay raise but wish some other reforms had been included.
“The extra money for the specialized teachers, the science, the math. We have such a hard time over there keeping teachers with salaries not being competitive with surrounding areas,” said Del. John Hardy, (R) Berkeley.
The pay raise bill for teachers, school personnel, and state troopers now moves to the State Senate where it’s fate remains uncertain. If the pay raise is fully approved, it will go into effect July 1st.