West Virginia Budget Debate Heats Up Over Teacher Pay

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Senate is trying to craft a budget bill after the House passed a measure that included a 5-percent pay raise for all state workers, and school employees.

But the Senate leadership is disappointed that some education reforms such as charter school and education savings accounts, that prompted a two-day teachers’ strike, were removed the bill. Now a teacher pay raise may fall short of 5-percent.

“Yes, you could absolutely look at a different variation of the pay scales, and raises and so forth. And incorporate some of those changes moving forward. Some of those great, ability for school choices,” said  State Sen. Mitch Carmichael, (R) Jackson – Senate President.

Democrats say they’re worried that they and the teachers are being double-crossed

“The Governor and obviously the leadership here has promised a five-percent raise. That is presently not in the Senate bill so I’m concerned,” said State Sen. Robert Plymale, (D) Wayne.

“Well, you know a promise was made in early October to these teachers and these service personnel. And I think if a promise is made it should be delivered upon,” said State Sen. Paul Hardesty, (D) Logan.

Also in limbo in the budget battle is the fate of a Senate Bill to provide 110-million dollars to fix secondary roads in West Virginia, known as “Randy’s Dream.”

“They dream for decent roads to drive on. And we have kicked the can down the road for so many years. And you know, lack of maintenance,” said State Sen Randy Smith (R) Tucker.

The Senate is still grappling with reducing the coal severance tax, which the House has already cut.

While the budget battle goes on, WOWK 13 News Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis is hearing chatter about a possible Special Session to deal with some of those controversial education reforms that failed to get passed.

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