SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teachers on a picket line in South Charleston Tuesday said they weren’t impressed with what they saw and heard of Gov. Jim Justice’s town hall meetings held in Wheeling, Martinsburg and Morgantown Monday.
“Now you’re almost afraid to trust,” Montrose Elementary School teacher Yvonne Martin, a 39-year teaching veteran, said. ” The severance tendency tax they are talking about is not the one we want.”
Justice urged teachers he met with Monday to tell the state Senate to reject the co-tenancy bill and then he would call a special sesson to deal with that, the joint development natural gas issue along with proposing an increase in severance taxes. House Speaker Tim Armstead said later in the day that plan would be a disaster.
West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said he doesn’t believe the governor was ready for the reception he got at the town hall meetings.
“I think they’ve underestimated the anger that was out there. You believe it’s the leadership that’s angry and forcing this issue but it’s the grassroots, the members who are moving this,” Lee told MetroNews as he stood with teachers Tuesday morning.
When asked if it’s possible the strike could end Tuesday—Lee said, “Sure, we could come to an agreement on the four major issues; PEIA, pay, attacks on education and the paycheck protection bill,” he said. “I don’t want to say too much because we are still in discussions with the leadership but we are somewhat closer.”
Meanwhile, teachers and service personnel are off work for a fourth straight day and preparing for a fifth, South Charleston High School teacher Cheryl Good said.
“We’re unified. These issues have gone on for too long and they need to be addressed and dealt with,” she said. “I think to open schools would be a big mistake right now.”