CHARLESTON, WV – Hundreds of West Virginia school teachers and supporters shouting, ‘We will vote you out!’ at the doors of the State Senate and House Friday. They want better pay, and want their health care protected.
“We’re here today to protest what’s going on with PEIA and our salaries,” said Steve Ryer, a Cabell County Teacher.
“We’re standing on a wall and we won’t come down until they fix PEIA and increase the salaries and the other demands, and leave our seniority alone,” said Zanetta Stallworth, McDowell County Teacher.
So far, teachers from about a dozen counties have walked off the job for two separate protests at the Capitol. So, will all 55 counties eventually go on strike?
“We’re exploring all the options and we’ll come up with strategically what’s best for education.
Lawmakers in both parties saying they’re working on a solution. But there are, differences on how much a teacher pay raise might include,” said Dale Lee, President of the WV Education Association.
Legislators say they’re working on the problem but one of the big sticking points is pay raises.
“As you’ve said, the Senate version and the Governor’s original proposal was one-percent. We felt like we were able to locate some additional funding, in our budget that we could go to two-percent,” said House Speaker Tim Armstead, (R) West Virginia.
“Three-percent is doable. All we have to do is put a severance tax on the gas that’s underneath our feat,” said Del. Ed. Evans, (D) McDowell.
Teachers say their protests are not over yet.
“There continues to be talk of a statewide teacher’s strike here, but so far no formal vote has been taken, but that could soon change,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.