Teacher Pay Raise

Teachers and supporters fill the Capitol Building March 5, 2018, in Charleston, W.Va.
Molly Born / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Now that teachers and other school employees across West Virginia have returned to the classroom, lawmakers are turning their attention to the budget to pay for 5 percent raises for educators, service personnel – and the salary hike promised for all public employees.

On The Legislature Today, conferees from the Senate and House met for the first time Monday afternoon, following their appointment Saturday night to work out their differences in a salary bill for teachers, school personnel, and other state employees. We bring you an update from the eighth day of the work stoppage, the latest action from the House and Senate floors, and host Andrea Lannom chats with Bob Brown, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia chapter.

On The Legislature Today, there’s only one full week left of the 2018 West Virginia Legislative session. In these final days, tensions continue to run high over the teacher work stoppage and the legislative process addressing the issues of PEIA and teacher salaries. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by fellow statehouse reporter Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail to breakdown all the action of the week and what’s to come as we near the final hours.

On The Legislature Today, protesting teachers returned to the Capitol, ignoring their union leadership and extending a work stoppage for a fifth day statewide. Acting on a revised revenue forecast from Gov. Jim Justice, the House of Delegates moved swiftly Wednesday night to pass a new 5 percent pay raise package for teachers, service personnel and state police, with raises for additional state employees to be addressed in the budget bill. But a fix for PEIA is still the issue.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice held a press conference Tuesday evening announcing a 5 percent pay increase for teachers and state service personnel as well as an end to the work stoppage – however, the stoppage looked far from over Wednesday. We bring you the latest from the Capitol. Also, in this episode, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, to talk about the budgetary issues facing lawmakers.

On The Legislature Today, leadership of the West Virginia Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia Chapter, and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association met with Gov. Jim Justice on the fourth day of a statewide teacher and school personnel work stoppage over salaries and health care benefits.

Shortly after the live taping of our broadcast, Gov. Justice held a press conference announcing the work stoppage would end Thursday and called for a 3 percent pay increase for all state employees this year with an additional 2 percent hike for those who work in education, including teachers and service personnel. Follow our story here for the latest.

On The Legislature Today, thousands of teachers and state workers again showed-up at the Capitol to protest low salaries and rising health care costs, as their work stoppage entered a third school day – tomorrow will be the fourth. We bring you the latest on the work stoppage. Also, in this episode, we look at a variety of health-related legislation and chat with Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha and Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone.

On The Legislature Today, teachers, school service personnel and other public employees returned for the second of a two-day work stoppage as frustrations linger over salaries and healthcare. Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers, West Virginia and the West Virginia Education Association announced Friday that the work stoppage will continue Monday. But will it be just that -- a work stoppage -- or a full-on strike? Here’s the latest from the statehouse in this week’s reporter roundtable.

On The Legislature Today, capitol security estimates 2,000 teachers poured into the Capitol Thursday – the first of a 2-day teachers' work stoppage. All 55 West Virginia county school systems were closed because of the work stoppage over teacher salaries and Public Employee Insurance Agency costs. Host Andrea Lannom brings you the latest from the event, and she chats with House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison and Del. Ron Walters, R-Kanawha on current action at the statehouse.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso to discuss the latest in the issues over teacher pay and the Public Employee Health Insurance Agency.

Thousands of state employees and supporters rallied at the Capitol Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 demanding higher wages and for a long-term fix to rising health insurance premiums.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Feb. 25 7:30 p.m.

According to the state Department of Education's website Sunday night ,schools will be closed in at least 51 of West Virginia's 55 counties Monday.

Original story:

 

A statewide walkout has been announced for teachers and other state employees for Thursday and Friday next week. The announcement was made during a weekend rally at the state Capitol in Charleston.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a salary bill providing pay raises for state police, teachers, and school service personnel. But will it be enough to avert a teachers' strike amid growing frustrations over salaries, problems with the state's insurance provider and teacher vacancies? We hear from the presidents of both the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers to help answer these questions.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates spent nearly four hours in session debating amendments to the teacher, school personnel, and police pay raise bill. We also look at clips from an emotional public hearing on a bill that proponents say will crack down on fraud within assistance programs, like SNAP. Host Andrea Lannom also chats with Minority Vice Chair of House Finance, Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, on a handful of issues moving under the Capitol dome.

West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: This story will be updated.

 

The West Virginia House of Delegates shot down Monday two amendments that would have created bigger pay hikes for teachers.

House Minority Leader Tim Miley proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 267 that called for a 3-percent salary increase this year and 3-percent increases the following two years. The amendment failed on a 42-58 vote.

On The Legislature Today, Governor Jim Justice held a press conference addressing issues linked to PEIA and teacher pay. In the Senate, lawmakers debated abortion rights, and in the House, tempers flared as the 2018 state Legislative session hit the half-way mark.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice confirms teachers and other West Virginia public employees will see their health insurance coverage unchanged for the next 17 months with his administration finding another $29 million to support the cost.

On The Legislature Today, hundreds of teachers rallied at the Capitol. Teachers from selected counties staged walk-in's and walk-outs, and Governor Jim Justice cancelled a scheduled press conference where it was planned he would talk about education issues. Host Andrea Lannom chats with fellow statehouse reporters Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews and Ryan Quinn of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in another reporter roundtable.

Gloria Triplett, a reading specialist at East Chapmanville Elementary School, holds signs Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, during a teacher rally at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.
John Raby / Associated Press

Before a gallery packed with teachers, West Virginia's Senate approved a bill Friday to give them annual pay raises of 1 percent over a four-year period, a move that both teachers and many senators said wasn't enough.

The bill passed on a 33-0 vote after a lengthy discussion. One senator was absent.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia lawmakers have passed a budget that dips into millions of dollars in reserves and gives public employees raises.
 
The Senate voted 25-9 and the House of Delegates voted 77-18 Friday to pass next year's budget. The bill would take $147 million from the state's $922 million Rainy Day Fund to cover a projected shortfall.
 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators voted on their version of the budget bill Thursday.

It included the governor’s recommended pay raises for school service personnel and State Police forensic lab technicians, but Senate Bill 306 only accounts for the $837 teacher pay raise passed by the upper chamber. The House has changed that bill to include a $1,000 across the board raise.

But Finance Chair Senator Roman Prezioso explained the Senate has not yet voted on House Bill 4333, known as the Haircut Bill for short. The bill adjusts lottery appropriations of about $40 million to balance the budget.

An update on Governor Tomblin's legislative agenda and members of the Senate Government Organization Committee discuss a House bill that would reform the state Ethics Commission and reduce the number of members it requires. House committees discuss bills from the Senate, including the Future Fund and pay raises for teachers. Ted Boettner of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy about various issues, including taxes, the future fund, and the state budget.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

House Education Committee has voted to increase pay for West Virginia teachers and service personnel significantly.
 
The amended bill increases teacher salaries $6,000 across-the-board over three years. Pay would increase $1,000 the first year, $2,000 the next, and $3,000 the third.
 

Bills relating to abortion, drilling waste, and the attorney general's office that were controversial in the House now make their way through the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee discusses expanding pretrial release programs. Soon-to-be-retiring Senator Brooks McCabe discusses the future of West Virginia through his thoughts on teacher pay raises, sustainable water quality, and the future fund.

The House of Delegates went through 60 items on their daily calendar on "Crossover Day," the last day for bills to be out of their house of origin. But, House Judiciary heard from environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies as they examined Senate Bill 373, the bill that would regulate above-ground storage facilities. The Senate votes on 11 bills, debates three possible Constitutional Amendments, and also votes on the teacher pay raise bill.

Jessica Lilly

The legislative session last year is often referred to as the "year of education reform" as lawmakers looked for ways to improve education quality.

West Virginia is ranked 48th in teacher pay and right around the middle of the road compared to other states for cost of living. Educators say there is a connection to quality.

Although West Virginia teachers get a 1.5 percent pay increase each year until they reach 35 years, teacher salaries are among the lowest paid in the nation.

The House of Delegates deal with a bill relating to conflicts of interest with the Attorney General's office and hold a public hearing on the future of toll collections in West Virginia. Senators in the Finance Committee decide to return to Gov. Tomblin's plans of a two percent pay raise for teachers after flirting with the idea of giving them a raise of $1,000. Capitol reporters Eric Eyre of The Charleston Gazette and Erin Timony of The State Journal talk with host Ashton Marra about the bill to limit sales of pseudoephedrine to prescription only and a bill that would prevent abortions after 21 weeks.  

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Senate Finance Committee Friday morning voted to remove language from a bill increasing teachers' salaries by $1,000 across the board.

Members of the Senate Education Committee voted last week to increase the raise from the initial 2 percent promised by Governor Tomblin during his State of the State Address in January.