Opinion

Is it a rainy day in West Virginia?

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Perception is nine-tenths of the law in politics and that is the problem with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to give a 2 percent pay raise to teachers and a $504 a year, across-the-board raise to other state workers.

Few would deny that even with step increases, the state should give teachers and other public servants a raise. The problem is where the money is coming from.

The raises are part of a $148.7 million increase in state government spending, a 3.4 percent budget increase.

To make up the gap in the “austere” state budget, Tomblin plans to withdraw $83.8 million from the state’s $920 million rainy day fund.

That’s a 9 percent withdrawal.

Rainy day? The public notices no such precipitation. Instead, many West Virginians believe the money is already there; officials are spending it wrong.

Data gathered by the National Education Association, a teacher’s union, supports their contention:

West Virginia spent $12,317 per student in 2010-2011.

  • That was 17th in the nation and above the national average of $11,871.

 

  • West Virginia was 49th on per capita income at $31,806 in 2010 or 80 percent of the national average.

 

  • West Virginia was 49th in teacher pay with an average of $44,260 in 2010 or 81 percent of the national average.

A system that is 17th in school spending per student while 49th in pay per teacher indicates a fundamental problem with asset allocation…

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