WV Teacher Strike Ends; Pay Hikes Approved

CHARLESTON, WV - "Oh, oh, oh, oh oh, oh, pass that bill!" teachers sang and chanted.

The mood was more celebration and less protest at the West Virginia State Capitol. This after lawmakers approved a 5-percent pay raise for all state workers, not just teachers.

"Everybody deserves that 5-percent raise. But we weren't coming down or backing down until they did this right," said Zanetta Stallworth, a McDowell County Schools employee.

"I am so excited that we were ale to get 5-percent for all state employees. That is what we wanted from the beginning- the same for everyone," said Leigh Saville, a Hardy County teacher.

Cheers also erupted in the galleries which were packed with teachers and supporters.

"Oh I think it means a great deal to our children. I know our children are anxious to get back to the classroom. And I know every teacher downstairs in the hall way right now is anxious to get back to be with their children," said State Sen. Bob Beach, (D) Monongalia.

But Republican leaders cautioned everyone that budget cuts would be used to fund pay raises, and not new taxes.

"By making these cuts we know with absolute certainty, that that funding will be there so there's a lot of hard cuts there," said State Sen. Ryan Ferns, (R) Ohio - Majority Leader.

"It could be coming from Medicaid. It could come from general services. A lot of it came from tourism and commerce," said State Sen. Craig Blair, (R) Berkeley - Finance Committee.

A lot of lawmakers are worried.

"Medicaid is of grave concern. And certainly we'll be watching that," said State Sen. Bob Plymale, (D) Wayne.

The nine-day strike, is now over.

"These school teacher have chanted and shouted a lot of things this week, but their final chant was, 'Back to school!'" said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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