CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state legislature gave final approval Saturday night to an across-the-board $1,000 teacher pay raise.
“Finally,” West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee told MetroNews once the bill got the passing vote in the state Senate. The proposal had several ups and downs during the past 60 days.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin originally proposed a two percent raise for teachers and service personnel. The state Senate changed the raise to $837 for teachers and two percent for service personnel and then the House went with $1,000 across-the-board and two percent for service personnel.
The governor said Saturday night the change is more expensive than his original bill but he supports it.
“I would have preferred to stay within the two percent range because it is a tight budget year but we can fund the money to go with a thousand,” Tomblin said the increase would address the problem of starting salaries.
Del. Roy Cooper, R-Summers, himself a former teacher, told House members Saturday the raise wasn’t enough. He said the teachers have a monumental job in West Virginia.
“We have got to educate the workforce,” Cooper said. “We’re not going to educate the workforce when we’re not willing to pay those that do the educating half salaries.”
Del. Karen Arvon, R-Raleigh, said her daughter is a teacher with a masters degree and makes just more than $30,000 a year. She said she’s been talking about a job in Maryland where the pay is much different.
“To move to Silver Springs, Maryland from here with her same degree she will make 96-thousand dollars,” Arvon said.
But in a tight budge year supporters said $1,000 across-the-board is at the top limit teachers could hope for until better financial times.
Late Saturday night the governor sounded like he intended to sign the bill.
“We’re asking our teachers and school people to do more work and I think they need the compensation,” Gov. Tomblin said.