CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teachers and school service personnel in all 55 counties in West Virginia will remain on strike Monday, the third consecutive school day of the work stoppage.
“It is clear that education employees are not satisfied with the inaction of legislative leaders or the governor, to date. Our members have spoken and are not prepared to go back to work yet,” said. Dale Lee, president of West Virginia’s branch of the National Education Association union.
On Saturday, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine, issued a statement in response to the continued statewide work stoppage: “Today I met with all county superintendents regarding the planned work stoppage for next week. Many asked whether the state was planning to pursue legal action in this matter. A decision will be made on Monday if an agenda item will be added to the State Board of Education meeting scheduled for Tuesday to discuss legal action. If an item is added and the agenda is amended, the public will be notified on Monday.”
The West Virginia Board of Education will meet Tuesday at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27, in Capitol Building 6, Room 353, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
On Friday Gov. Jim Justice on Friday expressed his hope the strike would end and teachers and service personnel would return to work. Justice signed a pay raise bill for teachers, school service personnel and State Police Wednesday. The measure calls for a 4 percent pay raise over three years for teachers and a 3 percent raise over two years for all others — 2 percent the first year and 1 percent each of the next two years for teachers, 2 percent the first year and 1 percent the following for all others.
The Governor said 2 percent is all the state can afford right now.
Justice said most of the money for the pay raise and the PEIA freeze initiatives will come from Commerce and Tourism. “We put in $30 million in commerce and that’s lowered to $6 million,” Justice said. “We had $20 million for Tourism and we will have to whack that. … It all comes out of that or raise taxes, but I’m adamantly against that. It’s not going to happen.”
In the video clip below, West Virginia Press Insight hosts Betsy DeBord and Tom Hunter look at the situation to this point: