CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A reworked teacher pay raise proposal moving in the state Senate sets a legislative goal of raising salaries for all starting teachers in West Virginia to $43,000 by 2019.

“We knew that this was going to be a long-term plan that would have to be in place,” said Dale Lee, West Virginia Education Association president, on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline” of the goal.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee will next consider the proposal that would provide a $1,000 across-the-board raise for teachers in the coming year along with a two percent pay increase for school service personnel.

In his State of the State Address, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had proposed a two percent pay raise for all teachers and school service workers along with $500 more for all other state workers.  The cost of his pay raise proposal was estimated at around $34 million.

Supporters said the Senate plan would help new teachers more because the $1,000 raise would be greater than the two percent for those at the lower end of the pay scale.  “Right now, we have to address how we can address these (teacher) shortages,” said Lee.

In the years ahead, though, Lee said more will have to be done to bring up teacher salaries overall.  “Our intent is to raise all the salaries by the 2019 (time),” he said.

Lee said he is happy the raises are a priority in a tight budget year when many state agencies have been instructed to cut their budgets by 7.5 percent.

“What it shows is that everyone, the governor, and particularly, so far in the Senate, recognizes that we have to do something to make our salaries competitive with our surrounding states,” he said.

Currently, starting teachers in West Virginia earn around $31,000 annually.  For the first 35 years of teaching, incremental pay raises of 1.5 percent are automatically implemented each year.

According to estimates from the National Education Association, starting teachers earn roughly $41,000 in Pennsylvania, $43,000 in Maryland, $35,000 in Kentucky, $33,000 in Ohio and $36,000 in Virginia.

A number of factors contribute to those salaries, which can vary based on education and experience.

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  • Independent View

    Spot on JOE, please continue. However, I would add another problem that is kept hush, hush in West Virginia. The WV Teachers' Retirement System. Just three years ago an actuary identified the Teachers' Retirement Fund as having an unfunded liability of over a billion dollars! Just think about that for a minute-one retirement system alone with an unfunded liability of more than a billion dollars! As a small state, geographically and in population and tax base, the logical first question is, how did this happen? The answer, the teachers' unions' successfully pressured legislators for more enhanced retirement benefits without requiring employee contribution rates rising on a percentage basis. This legislation was passed over and over at the 11th hour of the legilstaure, in a flurry of bills, with no concern of how the enhanced retirement benefits were to be funded. There was never a question of who would fund the enhanced benefits without additional employee contribution--the WV Taxpayers!
    Now, fully three years later, the Teachers' Retirement Fund's unfunded liability may still approach a billion dollars, yet, teachers' unions choose to ignore this fact and refuse to support measures, including raising employee contribution rates thus eradacating the debt sooner and completely. And, with each cost of living adjustment, longivity raise and accross the board pay raise, the amount of liability to the retiremnet fund increases, without a percentage increase in employee contribution.
    It's madness.

    • stophating

      You are so full of crap... Or on some type of hallucinogen...

      Beginning in the 1980s the legislature borrowed money from the TRS for a number of reasons (balance budget, pay trooper retirement, etc).

      Why should a teacher pay more when state has already spent our funds?

      Reopening the TRS actually dropped the unfunded liability of the fund by added new deposits.

  • Notoneofthem

    Pretty good pay plus benefit for working less than 180 days year!!!! Think about it !

    • Aaron

      The teachers contract calls for 200 days per year. 180 days is supposed to be the number of instructional days.

  • Independent View

    Folks: I believe that the main problems associated with our education system in WV can be synthesized in to two distinct points of view: the teachers and their unions view and taxpayers' views.
    Teachers and their unions' views: If the goal is to attract and retain the best teachers then, taxpayers need to be prepared to pay higher taxes to accomodate higher teacher salaries and better benefits and prevent a mass exodus of teachers to border states that pay higher salaries.
    Taxpayers point of view: we will gladly pay higher taxes and support supplemental school levies in the various counties, however, we have only ONE request for the teachers and their unions', accept a system of evaluation and accountability.

  • Nick

    This is ridiculous. I used to be a teacher and there are many worthless teachers that do hardly anything at all. Teachers don't work weekends, hollidays, snow days, or during the summer. If you calculate a per hour wage based on the benefits and salary, it is up around 48 dollars an hour. They get plenty of money already. This will make our taxes go up for no good reason. I left teaching to make more money with less headaches. If they want more money the teachers should change professions to one that actually works year round.

    • Leo

      Sounds to me like you were the worthless teacher. I work weekends, at night after school, during lunch and planning. Good thing you got out while you could. Johnny deserves more!

      • Aaron

        A number of teachers say that but even the most liberal studies peg teacher hours at 53 hours. That study conducted by Scholastic states teachers stay at school, on average 90 minutes every day after students leave school.

        As I put 4 kids through school, I know that's not true. The only staff at school that long after students leave are those there for extra-curricular activities.

        The Manhattan Institute conducted a study using time-use methods studying Bureau Of Labor Statistics and concluded that teachers work 36.5 hours per week they are in school.

        That number doesn't take into account hours worked at home. I think a study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, which used data directly from teachers without questioning the stated hours,determined that teachers work on average 43.5 hours per week is the most accurate.

        The one thing I love about numbers is they rarely if ever lie.

        • Leo

          Huh, so you peeked in each classroom at the end of the day? What an amazing person you are. Well at our school, only the principals, guidance counselor, typing, P.E. etc run out as soon as the kids leave, not the core subject teachers. Your numbers, sir are lying. Not to mention the time at home and on weekends. The first count for at school time from Scholastic is more accurate. But of course, Scholastic is for, not a basher of the teaching profession, which might I add, if there weren't teachers, there would be no other professions. So....instead of all of you bashing us for wanting to support our families, perhaps you should be thanking us for taking care of your kids and teaching them not only how to read, but to the majority of them, right from wrong.

          • Alice


            Leo, you must have known quite a few less than desireable teachers. I admit there are a few; however, you are very wrong about teachers remaining in the building after the students leave the building. They are working on lesson plans for the next week, returning calls from parents, grading or making up tests, and coordinating with other teachers regarding the best way to reach Johnny. Do you know how many students today come from a single parent family? Do you know how many of today's students are being raised by their grandparents? Do you have any idea how many times children are left on their own to raise themselves because Mom or Dad are not responsible and society doesn't hold them accountable? There is an old saying that goes like this, "It takes two people to procreate, but it takes a whole village to raise that child." Many times teachers are the ones who do a great deal of the raising of those children. They come to school not knowing right from wrong because they have absentee parents or the parents themselves a big part of the problem because their children follow in Mom and Dad's footsteps. Many have a severe lack of morals and their values read something like this: "It is OK to break rules or the law as long as you don't get caught." They have little or no respect for authority and they want to challenge every classroom rule. Now, you come into a classroom with half your students fitting that category. Do you think you might need some classroom management skills? How would you cover your CSOs in a timely manner and still keep your better students engaged? This is only the tip of the iceberg in what every classroom teacher faces everyday. This is why they are in the classroom well after the end of the day. They are there because they care whether Johnny gets it or not!

          • Leo

            Oh I am so sorry Johnny, I mean Jason. Do you need me to bring that paragraph down to a first grade level? Is that the best you have?

          • Jason412


            I'm not usually one to point out poor grammar, but for someone who is teaching "Johnny how to read" your grammar is horrendous.

            "The first count for at school time from Scholastic is more accurate. But of course, Scholastic is for, not a basher of the teaching profession, which might I add, if there weren't teachers, there would be no other professions. "

            One would think you would at least make an attempt to be well spoken while patting yourself on the back for being such an excellent teacher.

          • Aaron

            Once again, I failed to edit my response. When I said " irectly from without question directly teachers" it should have read directly from teachers, without questioning the hours."

            Forgive me. I have a public education. : )

          • Aaron

            I'm not bashing Teachers Leo, I'm stating facts. I've been to too many schools and know that teachers do not remain in the building hours past the closing bell.

            As to the numbers, they're not mine. The Manhattan Institute did a scientific study utilizing teacher records to arrive at their number of 36.5 hours per week in class room. American Enterprise utilized numbers obtained directly from without question directly teachers that included time spent working at home to come up with 43.5 hours. That puts the hours worked at home at a little over an hour each day and sound logical. Like I said, the numbers don't lie.

            I do wonder though Leo, if so many of you and your fellow teachers are spending so much time in school and at home working on educating our youth, why are you failing so miserably?

  • justsayin

    It is easy to set back and be critical of teachers or anything else. It is more challenging to come up with ideas or solutions to improve things. That is where this country is sorely lacking.

    In response to the point you make, yes planning periods were created to help with planning. But there are many teachers, believe it or not, with strong work ethics that compel them to do more than what the classroom requires.

    I understand the cost of college as well as anybody. I paid for my education degree and other degrees without any type of assistance. I also paid full tuition for my two daughters. So I think I understand the cost and need for an education.

    I do agree that our education system is top heavy and that a more efficient system can be developed resulting in a huge savings for taxpayers.

    • Aaron

      Can you point out how my comments are critical of teachers?

  • The Sarge

    Do you want to know why the teacher ask for and get raises? Look at the amount of members in the WV Legislature that are or were teachers. No other state of WV employee can run for office at the state level. Teachers are under state benefits but yet they are labeled county employees. Loop hole in the system. Do they deserve raises? Sure but so does every other state employee. I made $39,000 last year, but that was with alot of mandated overtime. My state organization's starting salary for entry level workers is around the $25,000 mark. The reason for the overtime is due to staff shortage. The reason for the shortage is due to salary being low. Turn over rate is high in all agencies at the state government level. So my long winded point is that every state employee should have their salary enhanced tremendoulsy.

  • justsayin

    First of all I am not a school teacher. I do know a lot of teachers and most of them are hard working individuals.

    For those who think the salaries are so lucrative you should spend thousands of dollars and years of your time and get a degree that will allow you to have one of these $40,000 a year lucrative jobs. You will earn so much money it will be easy to pay back the student loans. Also you will have plenty to do each night preparing lessons for each day. The field is wide open. I decided to use my education degree to money to make more money outside the education field.

    • Aaron

      I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not but colleges and universities charge tuition to more than just the education students.

      And I'm curious about something. If all these teachers are at home each night preparing lessons for each day, what do they do during their planning period?

      • Leo

        So Aaron, you are a salesman? Well...are you judged by how you present your material, how much you sale? Of course you are, but...are you judged by how anyone else acts or plans or sales? Of course you aren't. You are mainly judged on your own merits. We are not. We are judged by hundreds of other's performances, of which the majority of students don't care. I would love to see how you would deal with that.

        • Aaron

          You would be wrong Leo. I'm judged on the actions of others daily, from operations, line support to how the customer utilizes the end product. Were my evaluations based solely on what I control, I would maximize my bonus and obtain a large pay raise as I've had record years 2 years running while increasing my contribution margin (the only thing I actually control) by 4% each year. For the non-salesman that translates into I did a bang-bang job. Not bad considering I’ve been in sales for 2.5 years, huh!!!!!

          I'm curious though, you say that teachers "have no control” over education which is the one area in which I disagree and will bash teachers. From your unions lobbying on the outside of our legislature to the number of teachers unjustly classified as county employees serving in the legislature and packing the Education committees, teachers have controlled the agenda on education for decades and have an incredible amount of control over education in West Virginia.

          I don’t suppose you could address that last paragraph, could you Leo?

      • stophating

        I have two AP preps, a New Tech Prep, and one other. That's four preps per day. I get 45 minutes planning, during which Tim I'm supposed to return parent calls, emails, etc (and maybe use the restroom). If I just gernerously allow 5 minutes for returning parent messages that leaves 40 minutes.

        So I have 10 minutes per class/day, to plan. That isn't nearly enough time, and I haven't even mentioned grading.......

        For someone that claims to know everything about everything, you are very uninformed.

        • Aaron

          Other than to try and discredit me sir, I'm not sure what the point of your post is?

          Are you somehow claiming that you are required to plan out what you are going to teach every class, every day?

          Do you not utilize some sort of syllabus or teacher planning software that publishers make available with the textbooks they sell the school system as daily, weekly and semester guidelines?

          You mentioned 4 classes which tells me you teach in Putnam County which makes me wonder, have you ever coached baseball by chance?

          • Aaron

            When I first started selling, I would spend a great deal of time planning each presentation but over time, I got my product down and learned my customers, I do t spend near as much time as I used to, particularly with the aid of technology.

            You wouldn't believe how many (real) teachers have told me essentially the same story regarding how they plan and prepare.

          • stophating

            Ohhhhh, you make me laugh so much.... Please go to the following site

            Read through reports. What you think would make great plans, would get a school cited for a noncompliance during an on-site review.

            Yes, I plan out what I teach, every class every day--it's a requirement--perhaps you haven't had education 100 during your return to college, I would think that would be one of the first things they would tell you. My county stopped using textbooks for my content area 3 years ago, so yes I do indeed plan everything each and every day.
            Have not coached any sport. Not in Putnam county either... Try again.

            The reason for my previous post was too point out how little you actually know about what a teacher does. You claim to be in sales, if you are pitching to a major client--how long do you prepare for the presentation?

  • John

    No way, so you are saying that every year teachers will be getting a 2,500 or more pay raise. A new teacher hired today at 30,000 will have to be making more than 43,000 in 5 years there is no way this state can afford that. if so concerened about what PA makes Move there.

    • stophating

      Believe it or not, teachers make a difference in student achievement....

      To quote James Goldsmith, "if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys."

      • Aaron

        If you pay peanuts, why wouldn't you get elephants?

        • stophating

          Just quoting a famous businessman. Wanted to use another quote, but was unable to find the original author.

          • Aaron

            West Virginia has been paying peanuts for years. Despite that, I do not believe the idiom as you apparently do.

    • Joe

      You see, these annual incremental raises are another dirty little secret that teachers do not want you to know about. Another is the replacement of any pension losses due to market conditions that private workers can only wish for.

      My favorite though is how seniority still reigns supreme within the operations of individual schools where the most experienced (seniority) teachers are assigned the best brightest student sections instead of the lower achieving student sections where their supposed experience would do the most good.

      • Elphaba

        FYI - Incremental pay raises for service are in the range of $100 per year - much less than bonuses or raises given in many businesses. Earning a master's degree plus 30 credits entitles you to a whopping $300 per year over a bachelor's. Not even close to covering the amount spent by most teachers out-of-pocket to buy basic classroom goods and materials not supplied by the county boards.

  • Independent View

    Floyd--Are you the Floyd from the Andy Griffith Show/Mayberry? I did not know that Floyd was a teacher, I was under the impression he was a barber.
    And Floyd, no we don't give back our raises in the private sector because they are few and far between and based on PERORMANCE, not seniority or automatic from the legislature to curry votes. To put it another way--being a Space Occupant and getting paid well to do so.

  • Floyd

    would love to hear where some of you work and how much of your raises you give back to the company.

    • Aaron

      I'm a salesman making mid 50s. Had a record year last year and it got me an atta boy. That's why I'm back in school working on my teacher certificate. By the time this raise kicks and I'll be able to quit the real world and spend my retirement years teaching Johnny how to read.

      • Leo

        Your 1:43pm post about retirement. How long will you teach? What will your salary be when you retire? Then there is that 2% multiplication factor. Numbers don't lie!

        • Aaron

          I'll probably teach for 10 years or so, maybe 15. Long enough to travel the US on my bike during my summers. The retirement pays for everything else, the teacher salary for the travel.

        • Leo

          So Aaron, that nice little retirement from teaching will be play money for you, but the rest of us will have to live on it. No vacation home for me! By the way, you are welcome. That was from all the teachers who gave you the basic education you needed to get to where you are.

          • Aaron

            My vacation home is a motorcycle and while I certainly believe in public education, I attribute my success to my mother and father for passing along, with my strikingly good looks, a very high intelligence level.

            Saying that, I do appreciate the work most teachers do Leo so thank you.

            Of course, if you decide you want more, there's always the real world.

      • stophating

        With that type of attitude, I pray that you are joking.

        Secondly the 43k starting salary is just a goal that isn't worth the paper it's written on--more or less it's something for WVEA to say they got from legislative session. I guarantee two things. First salaries won't be at that level by 2019, and second teachers will be left to beg again for a raise in a few years.....

        • Aaron

          Not in the least. Teaching will make a nice retirement after a couple of decades in the real world.

          • Aaron

            I'm not sure what you mean Leo?

          • Leo

            You might want to plug your information into the equation before you start planning that Awesome retirement!

  • Independent View

    Maybe you should have chosen a different vocation ELPHABA?
    The fiasco continues and the flames of indeference are flamed by Mr. Lee and his ilk.
    To give teachers one more penney without a scintilla of acountability is both wrong-headed and an insult to taxpayers.
    Add to the already $1k per year longivity pay increases already built into the system and, no matter, teachers' and their unions annual mantra is, "give us more money and benefits and WV's Education System will improve." Hogwash! We have continued to throw money at the education system for decades and not only has it not improved, but it has continued its downward spiral!
    Where in the private sector does professional employees receive longivity pay for each year with their employer. It doesn't happen because pay raises and increased benefits are based on performance--a word not found in the teachers' or their unions lexicon. And, my final point, to attempt to make the argument that teachers are going to uproot their families, spend thousands of dollars in moving expenses, start at the bottom and give up that brass ring that WV teachers grasp--seniority, without accountability for $2k more in Ohio?
    Ps-Johnny still cannot read!

    • tiredintucker

      This highly discussed incremental raise is around $588 NOT $1,000. By all means express your first amendment rights but please have some facts to make your argument just a little more credible (if possible).

    • Steve

      I understand what you are saying about throwing money toward the school system. While like any other profession, there are good and bad teachers. If you have an issue with money being thrown around you need to look at the top heavy board of education at the state level. We have more people on the state board per capita than nearly every other state. If you cut some of the staff in Charleston I'm sure you could help save money there. Also, If you were to tell me that a sizeable increase in pay would not improve your production you are likely not being honest. And to your final point, most of the more populated locations in West Virginia are located an hour or less from other states, some even right on the border! So the argument that people are going to uproot their families doesn't fly for many that would choose to work in another state. I live in Huntington and it would be no problem to make $4,000 more a year to drive 20 minutes to Ashland, KY.

      • Aaron

        Last stop at the state level? Why not cut at the county level two? In fact I would say eliminate 47 of the county boards and create eight Board of Education's molded in the style of RESA. How much money would we save then?

        • stophating

          Being that you are an authority on everything-- I'm sure you are aware of what I'm about to point out.....

          The 55 boards of education written directly into the WV Constitution (I won't insult you by listing the exact placement, I'm sure you already know that). I'm also sure you know the process to amend the constitution requires approval by the voters. If you think voters are going to give up local control--then you aren't nearly as smart as you like to think you are.

          Secondly---do you have a clue how ineffective RESAs are? You act like they are great---truth is, everyone of those jobs could be cut. RESAs are full of people who couldn't teach and quit after a year or two at most, and kissed the butt of someone to get a job.

          You want to eliminate a waste that is bigger than the ever expanding budget of the state board of education---get rid of all of the RESAs!!!!

          • stophating

            I'm for eliminating both RESA and WVDE dept jobs. I thought you were proposing letting RESAs govern counties.

            Explain how you would setup/configure the system to ensure some form of local control?

            I fear this system would move the duplication of services just closer to local level. Would each group of school (or county) have a form of local oversight?

          • Aaron

            I'm curious though, how is eliminating County Board of Educations removing local control if they are replaced by 8 regional Boards?

            Do you understand how and why our county system was set up?

          • Aaron

            Interesting. A local President with a PhD who only makes in the mid 30's living in Kanawha or Putnam County who has to work 3 other jobs just to afford his meger apartment supporting redundant Administrative jobs. You're the first (alledged) teacher I've seen who takes such a stance.

  • Joe

    No Elphaba..there is absolutely nothing wrong here. This is exactly what you and your fellow teachers want. You don't want rewarded based on individual achievement. You want equal pay for all union members.

    You grown up children crack me up.

    I hope they give theme hires and subpar teachers even more in raise than what they currently say they will.

    • Leo

      What did you just say? Are you Johnny in disguise?

  • JD

    Maybe the state Senate should first figure out a way to actually get the teachers in the class room to earn their wages.
    Portions of P.A. received in excess of 16 inches of snow and there was only a 2 hour delay today. Something is a miss when the B.O.E. calls off school for 2-3 inches which has become common practice. Wake up clowns...we live in the "Mountain State" expect some snow from time to time.
    Teachers should actually be paid for the time they spend in the classroom. Not sleeping in and being at home since basically Christmas break.
    Talking about fleecing of tax paying dollars

  • Elphaba

    $43,000 for a beginning teacher within the next 5 years ! .....I have 28 years of teaching experience in WV, and a Master's plus 45 and make $46,000.......something is wrong with that picture,,,,,,,,

    • Aaron

      $48,890 plus your money for 20 years teaching plus the county supplement.

      In addition your part of the old teachers plan which allows you to retire if you so choose and come back to work up to 135 days out of the year earning a couple hundred dollars today. You've not been too bad.

      Thanks for the service. Anyone who can do 28 years in the classroom deserves kudos.

      So, kudos!!!

      • stophating


        You are truly an expert in everything.... Why are you not running for the US Senate seat? I guess you are waiting two more years to run for president--you will fix everything in this country within a month after being elected with your level of expertise in everything....

        • Aaron

          Are my numbers wrong?

      • Elphaba

        I am not complaining about my situation - No inexperienced kid right out of college , in any profession or field , is worth $43,000 a year - union or not. Let them earn their higher salary through working and furthering their education to improve their performance of their work.

        • Aaron

          I'll take your word that 43k is high for a new teacher ANC reiterate my kudos on your service. Despite what the haters of the world think, I truly do respect the work classroom teachers do. 28 years is highly commendable.

  • rick

    I think 43 k is a pretty good wage for an entry level teacher with a BA degree. There are a lot of us public servants who have advanced degrees and many years of service in our fields that make a whole lot less.