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Dems propose higher West Virginia teacher raises; Justice ‘softens’ PEIA wellness mandate


Charleston Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia Senate heard proposals Tuesday to amend Gov. Jim Justice’s pay raise bill. One proposal would give teachers a 3 percent overall pay raise. The Bill as currently written gives s 1 percent raise.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Craig Hudson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With rumblings of teacher walkouts and possible strikes over soaring PEIA health insurance premiums and what some have termed “insulting” 1 percent pay raise proposals, Senate Democrats are offering to sweeten the deal, offering two possible amendments to the governor’s pay raise bill (Senate Bill 267).

One proposed amendment would give teachers a 3 percent overall pay raise, or about $1,212, this year, followed by the four consecutive 1 percent annual raises currently in the bill. Currently, the bill provides a 1 percent pay raise for teachers this year.

“We’ve felt compelled to work with the governor over the past two years,” Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said. “He proposed a 2 percent pay raise last year, and 1 percent this year, so we combined the two.”

As an alternative, the Democrats have a second amendment pending that would raise salaries for starting teachers by $6,000, and would “smooth out” raises for teachers with more experience to avoid bumping salaries for new hires above longer-serving teachers.

That smoothing effect would work out to about a $2,000 raise for teachers with bachelor’s degrees and 10 years’ experience, and to about a $1,000 raise for those teachers with 15 years’ experience.

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