Liz McCormick Published

Teacher Aides To Pay Increases, House Education Vice Chair Talks Priorities For Legislative Session

Joe Statler.jpg

During the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Lookahead on Friday, Vice Chair of House Education Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, outlined a few of the education priorities that will be addressed during the 2022 West Virginia Legislative session.

Statler said a top goal will be to ensure first and second grade classrooms that have more than 12 students be required to have a teacher aide or assistant to help in class. He said students do better in smaller class sizes, but when that can’t be achieved, more help is necessary.

“This piece of legislation, I believe, will be tremendously productive in this state as it allows more one-on-one [interactions] with the students,” Statler said.

The legislation would affect about 1,800 classrooms in West Virginia and cost about $68 million, according to Statler. There is a challenge of finding people to fill these new positions, but Statler remains hopeful.

“It’ll be challenging, because we know that we’re having problems finding people that are qualified in these areas,” he said. “So we will lean on the [education] institutions out there to work with us to develop the skills that’s needed.”

Among other items, Statler said there will be legislation to provide a pay increase for teachers.

“These discussions began several months ago under the leadership of the House, Senate, executive branch, as revenues continue to come in [and] exceed expectations,” he said. “It was easy to see that we may be able to revisit this area and look at giving out some pay raises across the board.”

Discussion about changing up the funding formula for colleges and universities is also on the table.