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Mercer County teachers stage walk-ins to highlight West Virginia education issues


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Mercer County teachers stand on the roadside Tuesday morning to raise awareness of the issues facing West Virginia’s educators and public schools.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo by Jessica Nuzzo)

PRINCETON — Passing motorists honked their horns and waived Tuesday as teachers stood in the cold morning air and waved signs urging the public to think about the issues facing West Virginia’s educators and public schools.

Teachers in Mercer County voiced their concerns by staging walk-in demonstrations before classes got underway. Insurance, pay, charters schools and other issues were highlighted on their homemade signs.

For instance, lawmakers have proposed counting both a teacher’s pay and a spouse’s pay when calculating PEIA benefits, “ which is unfair,” Title I teacher Heather Steele of Princeton Primary Schools said as she stood just before sunrise with her colleagues.

Music teacher Nicole McCormic, who said she grew up in West Virginia, said she just wanted to stay in the state. It is difficult to raise a family on an educator’s pay, she added.

“My husband is a teacher as well, so with two teachers having the same insurance and relatively the same income, it’s difficult to make ends meet,” McCormic said. “More often than not, after bills are paid- we have for a family of six – we’re living on $10 to $15 a day.”

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