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Governor hints that Republicans working on package to remedy West Virginia teacher, state pay, PEIA issues


The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — In a Monday press conference on a new pilot program aimed at addressing the state’s drug crisis, Gov. Jim Justice briefly addressed the issue of teacher and state employee pay.

Although he gave no details, the governor hinted at a package that Republican leadership is putting together that he said will help address the situation. Justice also said he wants to “put a toe in the water” on proposed raises at this time.

“In the meantime, I would say just this — judge me by my deeds,” Justice said. “Look at what I’ve done to help education. Look at my commitment to help education. Let’s put our toe in the water before we jump in the water and decide we’re in a heck of a mess. Let’s put a toe in the water and trust if things continue to move forward, we can do more and more. These people need us. Teachers need us. All state workers need us. But we need to be smart.”

Hundreds of teachers and school personnel packed the Capitol Friday, bringing their concerns about pay and eroding Public Employees Insurance Agency benefits to lawmakers.

Last week, the state Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 267, which increases teachers’ and certain state employees’ salaries by 1 percent. The bill covers three classes of employees — State Police, teachers, and school service personnel. Language in the bill codifies a 5 percent raise for teachers over five years and a 2 percent raise for certain state employees over two years — each amounting to 1 percent each year.

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