CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teachers in several West Virginia counties braced the rain with signs and posters Friday at the state Capitol to voice their concerns about low pay and rising health insurance costs.
The school employees were in Charleston as part of a one-day walk out.
Patrick Webb, a teacher at West Hamlin Elementary in Lincoln County, told MetroNews it’s time to put the pressure on lawmakers.
“We all have to stand together and address this together or the politicians will pick us off one by one,” he said.
Changes being considered in the Legislature include raising teacher salaries by 2 percent next year and then 1 percent the follow three years.
Brittany Bailey Adkins, a teacher at Buffalo Elementary in Wayne County, said that’s not enough.
“We would really like to see our pay increased to be competitive with other states,” she said. “Whenever I see my daughter, who is 17 years old and a hostess at Black Sheep and she brings home more money than I do, then that is a horrific standard for our teachers and our service personnel.”
Adkins said she’s thought about moving across state lines to Ohio for better pay.
“It would be quicker for me to get to work. I’d drive 10 minutes to Ohio or I’ve drive 20 minutes to Buffalo where I teach at right now and I’d make a lot more money. However, I stay in West Virginia because this is where I live, where I raise my family and where I want my son to go to school,” she said.
Ann Morrison, teacher at Spring Hill Elementary in Cabell County, shares the frustration.
“Although we are here to serve our children and our state, we don’t want to do it for free,” Morrison said. “It’s not just about the pay, it’s about not taking away from that pay with the PEIA increases.”
A statewide rally is set for tomorrow at the Capitol.