RIPLEY, W.Va. — The Jackson County Board of Education voted Thursday to use all of the days scheduled for spring break as instructional days because of the ongoing statewide education strike.
Jackson County Schools, as well as schools across the state, will be closed for the seventh day in a row Friday following the Senate’s lack of a vote on the 5 percent pay raise proposal for teachers and other school employees. The House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed the measure Wednesday evening. The bill was put before the Senate Finance Committee.
Jackson County Schools Superintendent Blaine Hess made the recommendation to the board.
“We will have to take a look at the end of the year, too, because of the length of the time and we’ll have to add some time there,” he said. “We’re about a month away from some very important testing not only for the school system, but for students.”
Hess said high school students will take the ACT, which could open eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship, and exams for Advancement Placement courses take place in May.
Jackson County Education Association President Adena Barnette said she appreciates the board’s professionalism during the work stoppage.
“I believe that it takes all of us. It doesn’t just take service personnel and teachers,” she said. “It also takes the support of the board to go into a work action.
Barnette, who also teaches history at Ripley High School, said there is no trust between teachers and legislative leaders.
“In 1990, there was trust there,” she said. “We want to have trust, but you have to do things that are trustworthy to be trusted.”
David Greathouse, who has students in the school system, said the board needs to stand up to teachers and force classes to be held.
“To get out and protest to get a raise and get better insurance or get stuff done with your insurance, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “Any normal person who goes out and gets a job and does something like that is going to fired, and then they’re going to have nothing for their family.”
Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said additional revenue should go toward the state’s public employee health insurance program.
MetroNews affiliate WMOV Radio in Ravenswood contributed to this report.