WV Teachers Rally at Capitol for Better Pay Increase

CHARLESTON, WV - "Boooooooooo!" chanted a crowd of teachers.

Hundreds of teachers and supporters let their feelings be known about pay in West Virginia. It was billed a  "Save Public Education" rally at the Capitol. The Mountain State has the lowest starting teacher pay compared to five surrounding states. And in his State of the State address last week, Governor Justice proposed a one-percent increase for teachers in each of the next five years.

"When more than half of our country people can drive 30 minutes and teach in another state, and make five to twenty thousand dollars more, they're not staying in West Virginia," said Dale Lee, West Virginia Education Association.

Another big issues, properly funding the PEIA health insurance program for all state employees, including teachers.

"We're concerned that promises for PEIA benefits in the past have now turned into lessening of our benefits and an increase in our premiums," said Dinah Adkins, Kanawha Co. Education Association.

Right now  in the Legislature, there is bi-partisan sentiment to help on teacher pay, but no one is yet sure the money is there.

"I'd like not only to see teachers get a pay raise, I'd like to se all employees get a pay raise. And then we have to pay special attention to our correctional officers," said Del. Ron Walters, (R) Kanawha. 

Others say teachers may have to make a choice between better pay or better insurance; not both.

"We'll try to fund the salary increases. We've go to do something to help them. But again I go back to the fact that PEIA is the biggest problem we have in our school system in terms of our teachers," said Del. George Ambler, (R) Greenbrier.

The last across-the-board teacher pay raise was in 2012.

"Lawmakers say they'll have to dig deeper into the budget process as we move forward in this legislative session to find out if the money is truly there - for not only teacher pay raises - but for all state employees," said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

More Stories

Local Sports

Trending Stories


Latest News - Local