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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  • TruthTeller

    The educational system is a joke. Once you learn how to read and write the focus should be more on getting the skills for your future career not repeating the same subjects over and over and over. The whole program needs to be restructured. Get the feds out of it and get the future generations ready for future jobs. Stop teaching subjects that are over 1,000 years old. WV needs to catch up with the rest of the country. Tax dollars are going to waste. Stop dumbing down the kids.

  • Brian

    Teacher pay is pork fodder for politicians. Many more state government employees have equally or more important jobs benefitting ALL WV taxpayers, not just those with kids. Two words will fix education in WV - charter schools.

  • Some Perspective

    A little background before my perspective! I am a teacher! While most of the people that comment on here belittle me and degrade my profession, maybe you should know a little about me! I work in a school with over 1000 kids, 72% of which are on free and reduced lunch! I work on the average of 70 hours a week (some of which is extracurricular) and I work very hard at educating our future!

    Some on here are very ignorant to some of the changes that were set in place last year as a result of SB 359! First off, 15% of my evaluation as a teacher is how my students do on a standardized test that means nothing to them! Many of you on here keep talking about the private sector, how many of you are evaluated on something that in all reality you have very little control? The tests mean nothing to the students, not grades, not graduation, nothing!!! I can not tell you how many times I have witnessed a kid Christmas tree a test and put their head down after 5 minutes!!! Yep that's part of my evaluation! Even more preposterous is an additional 10% of my evaluation is scored by how students in my school score, including kids I have never taught! How many of you in the private sector are getting evaluated based off how your co-workers perform???

    In regards to pay, I admit the fact that I didn't go into teaching for the money! If you did you are a fool! I have no issue with a merit system which I know the unions have been opposed to! The thing I argue is that our society is dependent on a successful education system, so we need our best and brightest to look at teaching as an opportunity and compensate them with that in mind! Remember our doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc... Would not be where they are without a teacher!

    Lastly, I ask that those of you who post here not lump all teachers together! While I will be the first to admit there are some bad teachers out there, there is also some really good ones! For those of you who think we sit around collecting pay checks on snow days and work on our tans in the summer, please know that I have my masters +45, I am AP certified and have one of the highest AP passage rates in the state, I am Nationally Board Certified, and was a finalist for WV State Teacher of the Year! I had to have some time to accomplish all of that and trust me, it took longer than my 45 minute planning period!!! Just some food for thought that when you bash all teachers, your also bashing some really good ones as well!!!

    • Aaron

      First, I'm not trying to bash the profession of teaching. I love teachers, particularly the great ones. I understand that it takes a commitment that few have to make the sacrifices so many do.

      I have two main issues with teachers, one of which you touch on in your post. The first is hours worked. I certainly don't mean to call anyone a liar and I know there are some teachers who work 50-60 hours per week or more but I do not believe it is the norm.

      First, because I've been around too many schools with too many teachers and what I see at the end of the day, particularly on the middle and high school levels is a mass exodus to the doors so many don't have to wait behind buses.

      That is of course anecdotal and by no means do I expect anyone to take my word for what I've observed which is why when I was questioned years ago, I researched and found conclusive studies that list how many hours teachers work.

      The highest average is from Scholastic and that pegs the hours at 53 but in my humble opinion is a bit misleading. Of the studies I've researched, the one by American Enterprise which utilizes hours worked directly from teachers and pegs the hours at 43.5 seems to be the most accurate to me especially when you consider that scientific research of Bureau of Labor information puts teachers in class rooms for only 36.5 hours per week.

      My second issue is the claim that teachers have no control over education in West Virginia. Given your lobbying arm of the teachers unions on one side of the legislature and the fact that for decades, teachers have controlled the education committees in the legislature (currently there are none of the Senate Education Committee but for years, teacher made up the majority chair) and as such, dictate what goes into education.

      I'm sorry that seems that I'm bashing teachers as that is not my intent and I know teachers say those who are not in the field don't know what's going on with some even claiming we have no right to stick our noses in but given the large portion of our tax dollars that goes into educating our youth, I believe it is one subject in which all stakeholders should be deeply involved.

      I do have one more question for you. You say your an AP Teacher and I wonder, as AP classes can count towards college credit and so few qualified to teach the courses, why not allow college instructors teach those courses? If nothing else, I would hope you would answer this question.

      • Some Perspective

        Two things I forgot to address in my response. The one thing I would challenge to the studies on hours worked is that is based off work "in the classroom." Teaching is one of very few jobs that I know that work outside of the classroom environment is virtually a necessity! I can tell you that I don't spend 70 hours a week in my classroom. But I want people to try to do all that we are required to do in the confines of an 8 hour workday. An example, in my 6 classes that I teach, I have 142 students. Try grading essay tests, research papers, and projects of 142 kids in 45 minutes, on top of all the other intricacies that is well documented in some of the prior comments (lesson plans, IEP meetings, collaborative work with special educators, mentoring student teachers, duties, etc...)

        And to your comment about teachers and control of education, I would never argue that we as teachers don't have a say! As you mentioned our unions and our power in the legislature is well documented, however I feel that most teachers would not argue that but instead argue our lack of control I individual student learning! An example I teach kids for 45 minutes a period that means I have 45 minutes to instill everything I am suppose to in that window! Now I spend 45 minutes with 142 children when parents spend hours a day with their individual children, yet some on here expect that I am to have a greater impact? That is unrealistic! I feel the the truth of successful education comes in the idea of a trinity! For us as a society to have a successful education system, we must have teachers that go above and beyond and love their jobs, parents that understand and support the value of education and hold children to high expectations of learning, and lastly children that have a desire to want to learn! I feel the last of these three is easier at younger levels however I know from my experience at the secondary level, student motivation is a serious issue!!

        Just some more perspective!

        • Aaron

          The study citing 36 hours stated that it does not include work completed outside the classroom which is why I generally reference the AEI study.

          It is an average number and at least for me, jives more with what I've encountered during far too many years of dealing with pubic education.

          While I understand there are teachers who work the hours many claim, I've known far too many teachers who do not to believe the average is 53 hours per week.

          As to your comment about a successful education system, I agree with the your Trinity comment. Unfortunately, there are far too few of each of the 3 you mention which is why I believe we as a society need to begin to think outside the box.

          For one, I would do away with compulsory attendance laws beyond the middle school level and force kids to earn their education instead of coddling kids for as many as 13 years in a system that is failing miserably at a tremendous cost to taxpayers.

          While I know an educated workforce benefits society, until we get back to the notion that it is not a right and treat education with the respect it deserves, I'm not so sure it can be fixed.

          • Aaron

            Thank you. It's nice to discuss the issue without being accused of hating education or bashing teachers.

          • Some Perspective

            In regards to your solution to a fix, I couldn't agree more! I feel that often times students and some parents are completely out of touch with society's expectations! For example, I am college educated and I operate on the principle that the day I stop learning is the day I need to stop teaching! However, I see kids on a daily basis that A. Don't want to be there and cause distractions to the students and teachers that are there! B. They can't function at a high school level (ie: they can't read, write, or clearly express their thoughts) and yet they and in some cases their parents believe they are college bound. Ironically, when the child fails it's not their fault, or the parents, it's always the school system. I believe that itself is detrimental to our entire society.

            Aaron, I must say I enjoy our banter, it seems if you and I sat down we could probably fix the whole thing! If more people could have this type of dialogue as opposed to the constant bashing/defense that goes on here our society would be so much better off and so would our schools!

      • Some Perspective

        The simple answer to your question is one that many don't like. There is no financial incentive to teach AP courses. For me, I attend AP training every summer and AP institute in the fall. This amounts to a week in the summer and a weekend in the fall where I go and get trained on best practices! Keep in mind that I do both and get no financial compensation at all (in fact I pay not only for the conferences but I also have to pay the beauracracy that is the State Department every three years so that I can keep my AP credentials on my certificate). Many would ask why would I do this and my answer is two-fold. One, it's my opportunity to teach some of my schools brightest! Imagine a class of 20 individuals that genuinely want to learn and be active in their educations. Secondly, I teach in an area that doesn't offer a lot of opportunities and so therefore I find it very important to give kids as much of a head start as possible!

        How many college professors are willing to do the same for free??? The answer is very few if any! I also believe that AP courses in many cases are harder than their on campus equivalents! I can't tell you the number of kids who have failed my course exam and thrive in a college setting! Plus, part of my evaluation is based on how my kids score on the national exam, college professors are evaluated based on their pass/fail rates (something they have direct control of!)

        • Aaron

          I was curious as I've talked to several college professors. In their view, the student pays for something that does not prepare them for college taught by mostly unqualified teachers who purchase accreditation. I'm not saying taking a stance one way or the other as I've met a few wonderful college professors augmented by a bunch of average with the occasional bad one thrown in.

          I do know a few AP Teachers and while a few have been impressive, most to me seem to be in over their head.

          I just wondered because I know a history instructor with 2 masters working on a PhD Research level Universities being told they weren't qualified to teach an AP Class.

    • Elphaba

      Well- stated, Some Perspective ! Your statements concerning the new evaluation and percentages is right on business or public sector organization would dare to attempt that. And, I might add, I am jealous !! - I only have 30 minutes planning......

  • Lulu the way, most educators know going in what the pay is......they chose the profession, so they should not demand more money in a time when a majority of West Virginians are getting by on less....

    • stophating

      So by your logic, teachers should never receive a pay raise... Thanks for all of your appreciation......

      • lulu

        Don't defend yourself by putting words in my mouth...a13,000 dollar raise is a bit much..

  • Lulu

    Every job but a government job is regulated by the marketplace!!! Probably several of the legislators have a background in education...and they must get re-elected.....

  • Lulu

    WOW!!!! What other occupation in WV with a bachelors degree starts out at 43, interesting thing for you journalists to look into.

  • Indpependent View

    Constant excuses from teachers, their unions, the State Boards of Education and local boards of education.
    Bottom line, we've had about 215 years of a structured education system and trial and error in place in the U.S., how much longer before we get it right?

  • jimbob

    Teachers get a $600 incremental pay raise each year in West Virginia that amounts to $25 a pay period.That won't even buy a half a tank of gas. Most years PEIA premium increases eat this up anyways. I haven't even mentioned utility increases and basic cost of living increases, so please don't act like these incremental pay raise are a big deal. Yes i'm thankful for them, but please don't act these salary increases are a reason not to give teachers who work hard and and do their jobs a pay raise every 2 or 3 years.

  • Randy

    #1. Why should WV Taxpayer's have to foot a salary that competes with surrounding states who nearly all have a higher population/tax base and larger economy's?

    #2. You knew what the job paid when you chose this as your career path and you still accepted it.

    #3. 31K a year for 200 days of work is $155 a day or $19.37 an hour based on an 8 hour day salary. Along with the benifits you get that is a fantastic deal for a newly hired employee in any occupation here in WV. At 43K it's $215 a day and nearly $27 an hour which after 5 years and going through your steps is what most of you are making plus annual increase's. My goodness, that isn't good enough? Far better than I and most everyone I know is doing working a full year.

  • Mountain Navy

    Wow the teachers get a big pay raise and the state workers the ones that keep our roads clear get nothing. WV state workers are some of the lowest paid people in the country.

    I was checking out the salaries of state workers in Virginia and they earn on average about 6 k more than the WV State workers.

  • a concerned educator

    I would first like to state that I am not a teacher; however, I used to be. I am married to a teacher though. Both my spouse and I believe that the $43,000 starting salary is a bit ludicrous. My spouse is pleased with the salary she earns.

    In regards to some of the earlier comments, first of all, even though teachers receive a 40 minute planning period, planning is often the last thing they get to do. They must return phone calls from parents, help take care of sick students, meet with parents, other teachers, or administrators, or complete the tons and tons of useless paperwork that is placed upon them from the county, state, or feds. Second, both my spouse and I believe that there are teachers who need to be fired. Teachers who are not willing to arrive at school on time or who are unwilling to actually teach and only be worksheet pushers should be removed from the profession. However, until the unions get behind this same belief, as well as the politicians, nothing will change. Finally, there is a BIG difference in terms of evaluating a teacher based on student test scores compared to evaluating someone in business. Teachers have to compete with MANY factors they have no control over, including poor parents, poverty, having students with a variety of learning levels in the classroom, class size, and a myriad of rules and paperwork requirements. No classroom is the same and neither is it fair to compare schools. Some schools have a majority of students from a high socioeconomic status, while others have the majority from a low SES. Classroom comparisons have the same issues. Some teachers have more students with disabilities or from poorer households than others.

    I believe that the WV Board of Education is completely out of touch when it comes to teaching. However, as long as the Board is a political crony group, nothing will change.

  • 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?