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Gov. Justice calls for special session for education, budget

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement Wednesday:

Gov. Jim Justice

“With three days left in the legislative session, we still have not achieved what I promised the people of West Virginia – a 5 percent pay raise for all teachers, school service personnel, state troopers, and all state employees. It’s very clear to me now that we won’t get to the finish line in the remaining 3 days, but it’s critically important that we still get there before the new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2019.

“In order to follow through on the 5% pay raise that was promised we have to take a different path. Tomorrow I will call a special session to focus on education betterment in West Virginia. This special session will begin as soon as the current session ends, and the Legislature will recess immediately so they can go out and listen to teachers, parents, community leaders, and all those with a vested interest in making education better in West Virginia. When the legislators return to the session, they will be ready to tackle the issues and get it done.

“There are many education reforms that are worthy of consideration such as reforming the school aid formula to accurately reflect the hardships our smaller counties face and increasing the number of school nurses, counselors, and psychologists. These all deserve adequate time to debate and consider, and a special session with a single focus is the right way to do it.

“The money required to cover the 5% raise will be included as an unappropriated expense in the FY 2020 budget that will be passed before the current legislative session ends. This means the money is safely stored.

“I know our legislators, education community, and the people of West Virginia want our education system to be better and believe that our employees deserve a raise, so you have my word that we will get it done.”

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