CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One day after West Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously to give state School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine a raise, Paine said he won’t accept it.
Paine issued a statement on Thursday afternoon to decline a raise of over $4,000.
“I am deeply appreciative of the West Virginia Board of Education’s confidence in me and willingness to recognize the accomplishments we have realized over the past two years through hard work and the use of innovative strategies. Unfortunately, the Board’s vote to provide me with a salary increase has become a distraction to the students of West Virginia and they deserve better.
At this time, I am not willing to accept a salary increase. Until we are able to address the lack of certified teachers in our classrooms and only as we are able to provide competitive benefits to our educators – inclusive of adequate pay and affordable healthcare – will I consider accepting a salary increase.
Our focus needs to be on the upcoming school year and working together to move public education forward. I am more determined than ever to roll up my sleeves and work hard to provide every West Virginia student with the education they deserve.”
When Paine returned to the position of superintendent in March 2017, he was hired with an annual salary of $230,000.
The raise would have been in a total of $4,170, equal to the raise teachers have received in the classroom in the last two years.
The board cited Paine’s purpose, vision, conviction, and determination in the evaluations leading up to a vote for the raise.
Earlier on Thursday, Senate President Mitch Carmichael called for the state Board of Education to rescind the pay raise.
“I was shocked and outraged that the State School Board would deem it necessary and appropriate to grant a $4,100 pay raise to an employee that is already making $230,000 annually,” he said in a released statement.
“This raise is unwarranted and unnecessary. The legislature has made a dedicated effort to lift the pay of teachers and service personnel in West Virginia by funding consecutive years of historic salary increases. After years of neglect under Democrat leadership, Republicans are making big commitments to raise teacher pay and invest heavily in local school systems.”
Carmichael released a statement after Paine’s announcement, commending the superintendent for his decision.
“It’s unfortunate that the State Board of Education took this unsolicited action to enhance the State Superintendent’s salary and to place Dr. Paine is such an awkward position. I believe this is symptomatic of the Board’s consistent pattern of mistakes and misalignment with the steps that are necessary to enhance student success in West Virginia,” he said. “My hope is that future actions by this Board will reflect a dedication to students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers.”
Paine also served as state school superintendent from 2005 to 2011.