UPDATE: W.Va. Senate Approves $837 Raise for Teachers

By: The Associated Press; Dan Griffin Email
By: The Associated Press; Dan Griffin Email

UPDATE 2/26/14 @ 5:22 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's teachers could soon have some extra cash in their pockets.

Wednesday, the West Virginia State Senate passed a bill to give teachers a raise of more than $800.

It still has to pass in the House, but some students who want to teach, said a raise could be enough to keep them in West Virginia.

Brandy Jarrell-Conrad spends a lot of time studying. "I'm here some evenings until 7 and it takes me an hour to drive home," said Jarrell-Conrad.

She hopes those hours of hard work will land her a well-paying teaching job in West Virginia.

But, she's also looking elsewhere. "We have thought about moving, maybe to Virginia or maybe living on the West Virginia, Virginia border and working in Virginia because the pay is more," said Jarrell-Conrad.

Similar stories are one reason state senators passed a bill for an $837 dollar pay raise for teachers.

It also sets a minimum salary goal for first-year teachers at $43,000 by 2019.

The bill still has to pass in the House.

Dale Lee, the West Virginia Education Association President, said the bill is a good first step.

"We have to make our salaries competitive to keep our best and brightest in the profession in the state of West Virginia," Lee said.

He said the impact can already be found in the classroom.

"Many of our young teachers are leaving going across the borders where they can make anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 more," said Lee.

For soon-to-be teachers, like Jarrell-Conrad, a raise could mean enough incentive to stay. "I think that would keep a lot of people here."

Which is exactly what lawmakers are hoping for.

The Senate vote wasn't unanimous.

Some lawmakers voiced their concern about funding the raises and voted against it.

UPDATE 2/26/14 @ 2:18 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate has approved a bill to grant teachers an across-the-board pay raise of $837.

Sen. Bob Plymale said the bill originally proposed a 2 percent raise.

The amount was changed to a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise in an attempt to raise new teacher salaries as much as possible.

He said the amount was cut to $837 in an effort to stay within the amount budgeted for teacher pay.

The bill also grants service personnel a 2 percent pay increase.

Senators Mitch Carmichael and Brooks McCabe voted against the bill.

McCabe said he believes teachers and other state employees are in desperate need of raises but is concerned about voting for any raises while the state budget is not yet balanced.

The bill moves to the House.

UPDATE 2/25/14 @ 2 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A vote on pay raises for teachers in West Virginia has been delayed.

The vote was supposed to happen in the West Virginia Senate Tuesday, but it was postponed until Wednesday.

If the bill passes, teachers will get a $1,000 pay raise.

It would also set a goal to increase the state's minimum salary for entry level teachers to $43,000 by 2019. The minimum is currently $28,000.

The bill also sets a nearly 2 percent raise for school service personnel.

ORIGINAL STORY 2/25/14 @ 10:20 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate will vote Tuesday on a bill proposing a $1,000 pay raise for all teachers across the state.

The Senate Education Committee amended the bill to grant teachers the across-the-board raise, increasing it from a 2 percent raise.

The bill also sets a goal to increase the state's minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019.

The minimum salary in West Virginia is currently $27,917. According to the West Virginia Education Association, the state ranks 48th in the country for teacher pay.

The bill also sets around a 2 percent raise for school service personnel.

If passed by the Senate Tuesday, the bill will advance to the House.

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