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Senate votes; West Virginia teachers say strike won't end

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"This might be one of the craziest legislative screw-ups in WV legislative history, "the West Virginia Education Association posted on Facebook".

With the strike looming, teachers had sent enough food for a week home with the needy kids.

Last Thursday, Governor Jim Justice proposed House Bill 4145 which would grant the teachers a 5 percent pay raise. He's on the line.

Governor Justice's original proposal was to raise pay by five percent. Four-and-a-half, maybe? But a House version of the bill, which favored the higher pay raise, had somehow been entered into the Senate voting system and was approved by unsuspecting Senate members. We made it in good faith. "Teachers are leaving left and right, we're the lowest paid in the country". But we also know that you have to stand up for your word, and the Senate didn't do that.

Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, announced in Tuesday's meeting that the Senate would recede from its position on a 4 percent raise across-the-board.

Teachers have said they will continue to strike until a 5% raise is passed, and their supporters agree.

Essentially, they accidentally passed the bill their opponents asked for. In the Senate, it was defeated 19-15.

Senate Republicans confirmed the deal, saying it involves some reduced government. "I think we're reaching as many as we can".

West Virginia Teachers vowing to stay out on strike after lawmakers nixed the raise negotiated with the governor. Blair said lawmakers would seek to cut state spending by $20 million, taking funds from general services and Medicaid.

"Despite the business and financial challenges it faces, Frontier has offered a very generous package with continued job security for the great majority of the workforce, minimal benefits changes, and solid wage increases without asking for any significant concessions", said Andy Malinoski, Frontier's communications manager.

Teachers went on strike statewide February 22. That's doing harm to our students.

Last week, Noah Karvelis, a music teacher at Tres Rios Elementary, got into a discussion with the president of the Arizona Education Association over Twitter. Teachers were hoping for a $5,000 raise with House Bill 1033, collectively called the Step Up Oklahoma Plan, which looked to increase the tax on tobacco and gas.

David DuVall, executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association, a union representing almost 40,000 Oklahoma teachers and school staff, said that teachers look at the 1990 strike as proof of what can be accomplished.

Senators grilled Justice administration officials on their more optimistic state financial projections. We're having trouble keeping and attracting young teachers. The bill affects state employees whose salaries are directly set by code; raises for other state employees will be addressed in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bill, which will be considered in the coming days.

"The Senate got us in this mess". And that's what we're looking for.

Early on Monday morning, just as schools would usually be opening across West Virginia, the Ohio County Board of Education gathered in a auditorium in Wheeling Park High School to hear comments from local parents and the school district's employees on the state's teacher strike.

Many teachers said they'd rather be in the classroom but believe they've come too far to back down.

"They are pooling resources, sometimes with their own money, and putting together packets of soup, mac and cheese, food cups", Wood said.

LEE: Thank you so much.

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