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WV Teachers Strike: AFT of WV leader says it’s up to legislators to come up with a good solution

By Jordan Nelson

The Register-Herald of Beckley

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Amid a statewide work stoppage involving teachers and school service personnel with a main focus to find a source of funding for the state’s Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA), union leaders say it is up to legislators to find that source and reach a final decision.

American Federation of Teachers President Christine Campbell told The Register-Herald that state legislators have proposed actions that could help fund PEIA, but wishes they would all just reach a final decision.

To fund PEIA there has to be a dedicated source of revenue, Campbell said. She said it’s clear it’s needed due to what she called a $50 million shortfall each year in the state.

“There have been some attempts made to actually dedicate certain funds to PEIA,” she added. “That hasn’t been done in the past, so at least we are getting somewhere.”

On Thursday, the House unanimously passed a bill dedicating 20 percent of General Revenue Fund surplus money at the end of the budget year to PEIA’s Stability Fund, which was created by the Legislature in 2016 to offset increases in PEIA deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

The other 80 percent would be split between the Rainy Day Fund and General Revenue appropriation.

“But we still don’t know,” Campbell said. “We would just like to at least see a decision finally made.” …

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