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Carmichael: Senate unlikely to OK West Virginia teacher pay amendments, working on PEIA relief


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Senate President Mitch Carmichael

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said the Senate will take up two amendments Thursday to give larger pay raises to public school teachers, but said it’s doubtful the Senate majority will adopt either one.

“At this point, we’re committed to being fiscally responsible as we can, while providing as much of a teacher pay raise, and a public employee pay raise as we can,” Carmichael said Wednesday.

As currently drafted, the governor’s pay raise legislation (Senate Bill 267) would provide 1 percent pay raises to state employees this year and next, and a series of five 1 percent annual raises to teachers, beginning this year.
Representatives of public employee and teacher associations have been critical of the proposed raises, saying they are inadequate and will be wiped out by rising premiums for PEIA health insurance, with local teacher groups talking about walkouts or strikes.

Senate Democrats have two amendments pending, one to increase the first year of the teacher pay raises from 1 percent to 3 percent, and an alternate proposal that would increase salaries for starting teachers by $6,000 with a smoothing of increases for more senior teachers so that the starting salaries for new hires would not exceed pay for longer-serving teachers.

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