The Latest: Committee to mull West Virginia teacher pay hike
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on a bill to give West Virginia teachers a pay raise to end a strike (all times local):
A joint legislative committee in West Virginia is set to address differences in pay raise bills for the state’s striking teachers and school service personnel.
The teachers, who walked out of classrooms statewide starting Feb. 22, say they won’t return to the classroom until lawmakers approve a 5 percent raise they negotiated with the governor.
On Saturday the Republican-controlled Senate voted for a 4 percent pay raise. The Republican-controlled House of Delegates earlier approved a 5 percent raise proposal that unions had negotiated with Gov. Jim Justice. House members later Saturday wouldn’t agree to the Senate’s move.
Two Republicans and one Democrat from each chamber will serve on the conference committee. House of Delegates spokesman Jared Hunt said Sunday no meeting had been scheduled. It wasn’t yet clear when the committee would meet.
According to the state Department of Education, schools statewide have been canceled on Monday.
Justice said in a statement Saturday night his sole focus is “getting our children back to school. This wrangling needs to stop right now.”
West Virginia teachers say they aren’t going to return to the classroom until lawmakers approve the 5 percent raise they negotiated with the governor.
The three unions representing the educators announced their decision Saturday after the Senate voted to lower the raise to 4 percent.
With their vote Saturday evening, the Republican-controlled chamber bucked teachers, Republican Gov. Jim Justice and the Republican-controlled House, which approved the 5 percent raise on Wednesday. The two bills will now have to be reconciled. It was unclear how soon that process would begin.
Republican Sen. Greg Boso of Nicholas introduced the change, which he said would cost $17 million less than the 5 percent raise.
The Senate’s vote came as the teachers’ strike rolled into its second weekend.