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With strike talk looming, House rejects larger pay raises for West Virginia teachers


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, speaks in support of his amendment to a public worker pay raise on the House floor Monday. The proposal to give teachers a 3 percent raise this year, followed by two years of 1 percent raises, failed.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill to provide modest pay raises to teachers, school service personnel and other state employees (Senate Bill 267) advanced to passage stage in the House of Delegates on Monday, after the House rejected costlier options.

That included an amendment for a three-year, 3 percent annual pay raise for teachers and service personnel proposed by House Democrats. Opponents called the amendment fiscally irresponsible because it would have added $108 million to base budget costs over the three years.

“It’s about living within our means,” said House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, urging members to stick with leadership’s four-year, 2 percent, 1 percent, 1 percent, 1 percent pay raise package for teachers. “What we have before us is guaranteed, and it’s not saying we can’t do higher raises in the future.”

However, House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, and others argued that the proposed pay raises are inadequate, as teachers around the state move closer to a possible strike call.

“If we want to make a commitment as a state to our teachers and service personnel,” he said, “we’ll find a way to do it.”

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