CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Teachers returned to the classroom Thursday after staging a walkout that closed schools in 14 counties.
The West Virginia Education Association called Wednesday's walkout a success. But that declaration comes despite the fact that the protest isn't expected to lead to immediate action on further pay raises for the state's nearly 20-thousand teachers.
Union officials say the three-point-five percent raise legislators approved last week is not enough to keep West Virginia competitive with the rest of the country.
A spokeswoman for Governor Manchin says if the walkout was meant to motivate Manchin to call a special session, the strategy didn't work.
Regardless, WVEA President Charles Delauder says the move was an eye opener for lawmakers.
The walkout was orchestrated by the 17-thousand-member WVEA. Officials with the 73-hundred-member American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia are considering a strike in May.
The walkout forced all schools to close in the following counties: Berkeley, Boone, Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Logan, Mercer, McDowell, Mineral, Preston and Tyler counties.
Lincoln, Raleigh and Hampshire counties all had closures in one or more schools.