Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Salary Snag Keeps West Virginia Teachers Out Of Classrooms

Salary Snag Keeps West Virginia Teachers Out Of Classrooms

Details were not disclosed publicly.

A show of support by thousands of teachers and supporters on Monday didn't immediately sway the lawmakers, who failed to agree on a 5 percent pay raise, forcing another day of cancelled classes for the school system's 277,000 students and 35,000 employees.

Since the West Virginia teacher strike began on February 22, shutting down public schools across the state, Vasale has put out an open invitation on Facebook every day, offering free babysitting for any parents who have to go to work and can't afford day care.

Health care is a key element of the fight in West Virginia, where even the prospect of a modest pay hike is wiped out by declining benefits, which had until recently been a key draw to the public sector.

LEE: We have announced that the strike will go on indefinitely until the Senate does what they said. "Our neighbor states are paying much more and luring away our best talent".

The House approved that raise.

INSKEEP: So 5 percent, 4 percent - isn't there a deal in there somewhere?

Most counties across the state subsequently announced classrooms will be closed Tuesday for the ninth straight day.

In an ongoing worker standoff that has captured national attention, unions representing West Virginia teachers say they will stay on strike after the Republican-led state Senate voted down a pay raise educators had negotiated with GOP Gov. Jim Justice. Senate representatives, who recently approved a 4 percent proposal as financially more prudent, spoke of possible compromises.

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A petition has gathered more than 25,000 signatures of teachers and supporters who object to the state's low teacher salaries-the lowest average pay for educators in the nation, at $42,460-with hundreds of signatures being added on Monday.

A controversial bill allowing natural gas drilling if 75 percent of the landowners of the property approve passed the West Virginia Senate on Saturday. She said the Senate should have trusted the judgment of Justice and the House. The House wouldn't agree to the Senate's move, sending the bill to the conference committee.

After a six-member conference committee agreed to the raises, the House of Delegates subsequently passed 5 percent raises for teachers, school service personnel and state troopers on a 99-0 vote. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne.

It's the first statewide teachers' strike in nearly 30 years in West Virginia. Community-based activities like that helped secure what looks like the broad backing of parents and students, who have joined protests in support of the striking teachers, cementing a bedrock of goodwill that state lawmakers now test at their own political risk.

However, that bill was voted down in the state House because it didn't get the 75% approval needed to pass, according to Oklahoma Department of Education Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

By early afternoon, officials said the crowd at the Capitol was so large that there were concerns by Capitol Police and the state Fire Marshal's office.

West Virginia's county school boards have, so far, largely stood with the teachers in their quest for higher pay.

As the labor dispute drags on, students are playing a waiting game - and video games - while trying to keep themselves busy.

All public schools have been closed across the state, leaving about 277,000 students out of school and about 30,000 employees on the picket line as workers fight for the higher pay that now ranks amongst the lowest in the nation and rising health care costs.

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