Teacher "Sickout" Closes Schools

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Schools in Monongalia County are closed Tuesday because one out of every five school employees is absent -- presumably to protest low salaries.

Superintendent Frank Devono says it's not just teachers, but service employees as well. Altogether, about 300 of the school system's 15-hundred employees called in sick or gave another reason, such as having to attend a funeral.

Devono says those who called in will have to provide a valid excuse -- such as a note from a doctor -- or lose a day's pay.

Teachers across the state are watching closely as Senate leaders debate whether to adopt a House-approved three-point-five percent pay raise for teachers, or heed Governor Manchin's efforts to return the bill to its original two-point-five percent proposal.

Teacher groups have lobbied for higher raises than either measure.

Monongalia County Education Association vice president Rose Bell says her group is not behind today's work stoppage. She says it was just a few people who thought they'd try to get something going.

A spokeswoman for the West Virginia Education Association says that group does not encourage work absences, but supports the teachers.

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