West Virginia Teacher Strike Enters Its Seventh Day

An election official watches as a man takes a ballot at an in-person absentee voting station in Fairfax Virginia

An election official watches as a man takes a ballot at an in-person absentee voting station in Fairfax Virginia

Public schools across West Virginia are closed for a seventh day following an educator walkout.

But teachers across the state have refused, saying they will not return until the State Legislature completes the deal, and counties across the state have kept schools closed.

West Virginia schools will be closed again on Thursday, said the state education department, despite the state's governor promising a pay increase to striking teachers.

"There is little good about the PEIA part but we hope the task force gets started, gets it fixed and in place by October", Merritt said. They said school would resume Thursday, but legislative leaders had not yet confirmed their support for the plan.

Wednesday had been billed as a "cooling off" day before schools would reopen.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, had announced Wednesday night the committee would not meet Thursday, and it did not.

All told, those cuts diminished state revenue by more than $425 million each year, the center estimates.

"Successful is a relative term, but it is considering where we were three weeks ago, we made strides", he said. "This year revenue is running ahead of the previous year for the first time in many years". "There was a similar problem in the budget situation past year where he raised revenue estimates by $123 million".

Jonathan Williams, a teacher now involved in the strike, noted that union leadership wants to give the governor's compromise time to work, but most teachers and state employees striking in solidarity dismissed the offer as a momentum-killing gesture which improperly frames teachers' demands as strictly-related to pay increases, "when really we've been focused on insurance". "But in the long run the strike is needed, and it is giving power to (teachers in) other states who need better pay as well". "I don't understand how one man can have so much power". Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson - Senate President.

PHOTO: Parry Casto, a fifth grade teacher at the Explorer Academy in Huntington, W.Va., dressed in an Uncle Sam costume leads hundreds of teachers in chants outside the state Senate chambers at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., March 1, 2018.

Mel Kiper's second mock has Cardinals drafting wide receiver
Wyoming's Josh Allen is still slated to be the No. 1 overall pick, per Kiper, when the 2018 NFL Draft gets underway on April 6. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes former Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith is a ideal fit with one particular team.

"If the Senate doesn't move this bill, I'm not sure when we'll be back in school", said Joetta Basile, the superintendent in Monroe County.

Earmarking the extra revenue next year to the PEIA will not provide a long-term solution, he added. The PEIA board has agreed to freeze rates in the coming year.

However, the teachers groups said they want to see more done when it comes to issues with the PEIA.

The state is ranked 48th in teacher salaries and has more than 725 classrooms without a full-time certified teacher in the respective subject areas.

"I'm concerned that the Senate will play games, and not pass the pay raise for the teachers, service personnel and state troopers".

"PEIA needs a fix".

Appointees will include active and retired public employees, representatives of the teacher and service personnel unions, experts on the insurance business and members of the legislature.

In the meantime, school systems are left trying to plan for making up instructional days lost because the state requires 180 days.

Jessica Salfia, an English teacher at Spring Mills High School in Berkeley County, told The Atlantic website that the strike was on behalf of all state workers who are affected by the PEIA's rising costs.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.