West Virginia Teachers Strike; Defeat Education Reform Bill

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Teachers walked off the job Tuesday in opposition to Senate Bill 451 which would have created seven charter schools in West Virginia and would allow 1000 students to use educational savings accounts.

Teachers believe that would divert taxpayer dollars out of public schools. Some Republican leaders say those items would help public education, but on a close vote, Delegates decided to postpone the vote indefinitely, which in essence killed the bill.

“As you do every day, you put the needs of the needs of your students above the needs of yourself. That’s what we do every day in the classroom, and you showed it today. Thank you,” said Dale Lee, President, West Virginia Education Association.

But supporters of the bill say a lot of good items will be lost in its defeat.

“We lost 24 million new dollars, towards school counselors, mental health and things of that nature which we have been hearing from across the state that we need more of that,” said Del. Tom Fast, (R) Fayette.

Some fellow Republicans found the bill too controversial.

“I really don’t know. I hate to speak for anyone else’s vote. There’s no way I could vote for it in its current form,” said Del. Mark Dean, (R) Mingo.

Teachers were elated, the bill was defeated.

“This is actually my third teachers’ strike and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I want to go back to my classroom and be with my students,” said Angie Kinder, a Cabell County Teacher.

“And this is about making sure our children get a quality education. And if we’re willing to pour more money into it, we should do that into the public school system,” said Brandi Sampson, a Calhoun County Teacher.

A similar strike last year, lasted nine days.

It’s still possible teachers, school staff and all state employees could get a 5% pay raise. The Governor introduced a bill that would just deal with pay issues, and nothing else.

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