CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teachers will receive a $837 pay raise next year if the House of Delegates approves the version of the teacher pay raise bill the Senate signed off on, with a 30-2 vote, on Wednesday at the State Capitol.

The bill, SB 391, was changed on the Senate floor to replace the two percent across-the-board pay raise Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had originally proposed for both teachers and school service personnel.

Supporters said the $837 amount would help new teachers more than a percentage increase.

“I am satisfied that in a very, very tough fiscal year, that education is important to both the governor and the Senate and now we’ll take it over to the House,” said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, of the Senate pay raise package.

As proposed, school service workers will still see the two percent across-the-board increase, while raises for other state employees will total around $500.

The Senate Education Committee had originally amended a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers into the bill, but the Senate Finance Committee later removed that amendment because of the cost.

“I agree totally with what has been done on this bill to get it revenue neutral,” said Sen. Robert Plymale (D-Wayne, 5), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, on Wednesday.

“I think that is exactly the way to do it from a responsible standpoint, but I also believe that this bill, in doing an across-the-board raise for teachers, does what we’re trying to do long term, (which) is raise the starting salaries for teachers up to the highest levels we can reach.”

The Senate bill includes a goal of increasing starting teacher salaries in West Virginia to $43,000 by 2019.  If this latest pay raise is approved, those salaries for first year teachers would be at $32,512 beginning on July 1.

The two “nay” votes in the Senate came from Sen. Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson, 4) and Sen. Brooks McCabe (D-Kanawha, 17).

“As an old basketball coach, this is the second quarter,” said Lee of the WVEA’s continuing work on teacher pay.  “Now we go into the House and see if we can get it back up to the $1,000 and go from there.”

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  • Lisa

    I haven't seen commentators note that WV loses the best teachers because the pay is so low. Many counties are within a reasonable commute to live in the state and teach in another. Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky beckon. What we get are teachers from those states who can't get or keep a job there and come over the border to serve our children the stale leftovers.

  • MissK

    I am a high school teacher in wv and there is no way I could survive on my own with just my salary. I have been teaching for 10 years, I have a masters degree, and I still have trouble paying my bills. Until you critics come into our classrooms and do what we do everyday you can't judge us. If you think we are just babysitters then how about you pay us like babysitters. I'll take 8.00 per hour per child. Let's see that totals up to about $600.00 per day.

    • Aaron

      Maybe it's just be but I would have to question how a single person cannot get by in $38K a year for 10 months work. Perhaps you should augment your salary in the summer months.

  • k

    This is a wonderful step in helping WV move with the times and becoming competitive with other states around them for teachers. Reading through the comments below I am shocked and a little angered. Teachers work very hard to educate the children of the state. They are there for the child when the child is struggling and needs someone. As for doing a good job- you are right we don't do a good job, we do a great job at teaching the children. It isn't the teacher's fault for what is taught at home. It isn't the teacher's fault if the child goes home to someplace where no one cares about the education system. The teacher can only do so much without the parent support- Imagine what they can accomplish with the support! I believe that for the WV education system to improve the teachers need to feel important and for effective teachers to stay and come into the state the salary needs to be competitive.

    • Aaron

      So you're saying it's parents fault that 7 of 10 West Virginia high school graduates entering college require a remedial class whereas the surrounding states are at 47%, 45%, 33%, and 20%.

  • Robertt

    Pay them, I need someone to baby sit while I'm watching Maury, talk'n on my 'bama phone and Ebay'n with my 333 month of temporary unemployment.

  • GregCrist

    Our govt. is so pathetic. $837.00 a year! Wow, wonder what they will do with all that extra money. Until the people of this state and the government of this state realize and then emphasize the importance of education we will continue to stay at the bottom of most of the negative categories that are always discussed. We continue to remain ignorant and lag behind the advanced states of our country. Oh, wait......we have coal mines. I forgot about that! No need to worry.

  • dan the man

    The Average teacher salary in WV is $38,000, 48th in the country.

    Welfare Checks in WV is average 24,000 a year per recipient or $11.00 per hour, which is 24th in the country.

    380,000 West Virginians are on food Stamps. about 20% of total population in WV.

    If you want to whine about tax dollars look at the real issues and get off the back of teachers.

    • GregCrist

      Thank you for that dan. Finally, a sensible response.

  • Gary

    According to an article recently in the Grant County Press the West Virginia Department of Education central office needs a revamping. In New York they have 10 times the students that WV has and have 583 employees. They have 1 employee for every 5000 students. WV has 637 employees and 1 employee for every 416 students. This report was for 2011. They probably have even more now. Seems like a lot of dead weight . What are all these people doing drinking coffee eating bonbons and getting a pay check.

  • Jennifer

    Teachers are not the only people who have to have a degree to have their job. Why are state workers always over looked? My B/A costs as much as theirs in fact my degree is in education. I went to work for the state instead and we are always left out. If most of us didn't go to work, people wouldn't get SNAP and other programs. We deserve the same raise as teachers. We work 12 months a year and no spring break or winter break. Come on nobody ever said life was fair but this is crazy. Let us go on strike and people not recieve their food stamps and roads not treated and CPS not help children then maybe someone will realize how much we really do as a state worker.

  • wacked legislative thinking

    Let's just spend more money on raises without any funding source--just brilliant and typical of both parties playing politics and bowing down to the teacher lobby--is it any wonder our legislature is such a joke?

  • Bob

    First off if you want to get the best teachers then you need to pay for them or else they flee to other states where they may not have to deal with the issues that poverty brings. Second without high quality teachers the state will be forever tied to trolling the bottom of the poorest states in America. You have to have an intelligent work force to bring in the next generation of jobs. Coal will only be there for so long. So we need teachers to work hard to turn generations of lemons into smart young men and women that can compete with their peers in other states. It's about competition in the real world. Competition to get the best teachers, the best jobs, and the best environment to raise families. Unfortunately, wv falls short with its rampant poverty, polluted water sources, and lunkheads attitudes that continue to allow policies and decisions that perpetuate the hopelessness and lead to the best and brightest gettin the hell out!

    • Aaron

      What teachers do we have now? And what happens to them if we do pay more and get better teachers?

      • Bob

        You pay teachers that are here so they will stay. You offer compensation adequate to recruit teachers to the state in order to replace those that retire or move on. Simple.

        • Aaron

          Why would we pay the ones that are here when you have just stated that if we pay more, we can get better ones?

          • Aaron

            “Those that remain here deserve the same compensation as peers in neighboring states.”

            The same? Why? I don’t like to compare test scores because I know the test vary by state thus it is often an apples to oranges comparison thus it’s not equal. What is equal though is the number of high school graduates that are required to enroll in remedial courses after graduation. In WV, that number is in excess of 70% for math classes and 50% for English classes. Compared to Ohio, which ONLY (I say that tongue in cheek) requires that ~45% of their students enroll in remedial courses; it’s fair to assume that OH is doing a little better job educating their youth. As such, why do WV teachers deserve equal compensation with OH teachers?

            “The problem is lack of opportunity”

            What lack of opportunity? Explain.

          • Bob

            Ok, referring to my original comment to answer your rebuttal. Don't pay West Virginia teachers any more money. That is fine. But, people who spend their own time and money to get an education expect to receive adequate compensation for their skills and knowledge. If they cannot get it in this state they will seek it elsewhere. The best and brightest will leave the state to better themselves. Those that remain here deserve the same compensation as peers in neighboring states. It's the same issue as years ago when the best doctors left the state to seek better opportunity elsewhere. Why do you think everybody has to travel to Morgantown to get good health care? Because the level of care elsewhere is adequate at best, and negligent at its worst! We as a state cannot continue to allow the brain drain if we wish to stay competitive with the rest of America. What part don't you understand? The problem is lack of opportunity, and the huge welfare rolls that contribute to budgetary problems, not paying teachers an extra $837.00 per year. Additionally, the state gets back a portion of that because teachers actually pay taxes and contribute to society. The rest will be spent mostly in state which spurs economic gains to some degree.

  • a concerned educator

    With the budget crisis the state is having, this is not a good idea. I know that everyone likes a pay raise, but fiscal responsibility is more important. It also does not leave a very positive impression with the public.

    • Bob

      You pay me more. I buy more. If I buy more then company will hire more workers to meet the demand. If company hires more workers then that is one less on the public docket. One less on public docket is that much more to budget solution. If company hires more then more people pay taxes. Paying employees more is not the problems sir. It is the lack of opportunity in this state that is the problem. It is the number of people in poverty here that ultimately drains the budget and the overall welfare of the state. Lure businesses in with a high quality and literate workforce. Lure people here with a quality environment in which to live. Lure people here because of the quality of our schools. Soon you have a state that is crawling out from the bottom of the heap. Continue with the insular and backwards attitudes and you will continue to thrive at the bottom.

      • Aaron

        So your solution Bob is that we can spend our way out of poverty and right into prosperity?

        Do you realize you're talking about taxpayer dollars and given that we are already running at a shortfall, adding to it might not be the wisest thing to do?

        It does in line with the broken window fallacy. Are you familiar with that?

        • Bob

          First. Lack of opportunity. Ohio has more people, more jobs, and more opportunity than West Virginia. Second you cannot compare test scores to Ohio's. Ohio students HAVE to pass the OGT to graduate high school. In West Virginia they have to do well on the test because it is expected of them. BIG difference. Truly apples to oranges. We are presumably arguing for the same idea in the long run. If you follow the tea party line that they want to be fiscally responsible so future generations do not have to pay our debt...then fine. I do not want that either. However, I believe that the cycle of poverty in West Virginia must be stopped and replaced with a cycle of prosperity and economic diversity. Most of the teachers I know are dedicated to their jobs and to their students. Most go out of their way to help a kid who needs it. Teachers cannot replace the parent or parents that their kids go home to. If we wish to break the cycle, I think education is where the investment needs to be. It's effects pay dividends in the future, it is not a quick fix but ultimately will pay off. If we as a state wish to continue having our folks live as dependents to the state and peasants to its consumptive industries then fire all the teachers. We then can sink down below Mississippi and truly be at the bottom of every possible measure of success...but at least we have the coal and the new gas wells.

          • Aaron

            I was not comparing test scores, I was comparing the percentage of high school graduates who enter their freshman year of college and require a remedial Math or English class.

            70% of WV graduates require such a course whereas 45% of Ohio students require students require remediation. In PA, that number is 33%. Maryland measures two different categories 39% of Core students required remedial classes while 47% of Non-core students while Virginia by far did the best with only 20% of their graduates requiring remedial courses.

            As you can see, that's apples to apples and West Virginia is on the bottom.


  • Moosemom

    The general public needs to understand that WV needs competitive salaries to compete with neighboring states! I challenge anyone to spend a day with a teacher, you will be enlightened!

    • Aaron

      We must be doing something right. We have 771 public schools in which 20,299 teachers (2012 numbers) educate 282,662 students for a student-teacher ratio of 13.9 students per teacher that we as taxpayers spend $10,828.00 per student.

      A cursory search of shows less than 300 full time vacancies but I'll admit that's anecdotal at best. If someone has a different number of vacancies, let's hear it.

      I'm sorry, was your post meant to state that if we don't pay teachers more, the 20,000 plus will leave WV?

  • Mark

    This "raise" is humiliating to any decent educator. A friend of mine in Ohio gets the biggest kick out of stories like this one. After taxes, I'll be making about 12 extra dollars per pay, and it's for this year only! What a joke.

  • Gary

    A raise for what. WV will still have the 45th ranked schools in the country. We have a big deficit and your lucky to have a job. In a couple of years all the extra money in the rainy day funds will be gone. These politicans won't make the hard decisions that need to be made. Tomlin and the state congress wait till the last minute about the budget. Whats wrong with a big tax on cigarettes and alcohol?

    • Steve

      A raise for taking care of many people's children. I think that if people took more responsiblilty for raising their children WV would rise in the school rankings. I do agree that an increased tax on cigarettes and alcohol would be good though.

  • hilljack

    Spot on Brian. If teachers can't read they don't deserve a raise.