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Governor Jim Justice’s words in Wheeling not well-received by teachers


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice addresses area school personnel and members of the public during a town hall meeting Monday at Wheeling Park High School’s J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center.
(Intelligencer photo by Scott McCloskey)

WHEELING, W.Va.  — Ohio County public school teachers and service employees stood on the picket lines Monday with pursed lips and a universal “no comment” after West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice told them “you need to be back in the classroom.”

They won’t be in the classroom today, though, as the statewide teacher strike enters its fourth day. Union leaders in Charleston announced Monday the strike would continue until the governor and House and Senate leaders addressed their concerns.

Following a morning town hall Monday in Wheeling in which the governor urged teachers to help him defeat a co-tenancy bill related to natural gas development that sits in the state Senate after passing through the House of Delegates, Justice promised teachers that if the bill fails, he would call for a special session to deal with the matter and another natural gas issue known as joint development. As part of that session, he said he would seek additional severance tax revenue from the natural gas companies drilling in West Virginia, and that money would help fund the Public Employees Insurance Agency.

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