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UPDATE: Mingo Co. Schools employees approve potential one-day work stoppage

(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 28, 2019 at 8:59 PM EST
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UPDATE 1/28/19 @ 6:33 p.m.

Educators at Mingo County Schools were nearly unanimous Tuesday in a vote to approve a one-day work stoppage, should West Virginia lawmakers make them unhappy with an omnibus bill.

Members of the Mingo County Education Association (MCEA) and the American Federation of Teachers in Mingo County met Tuesday.

Leaders of those groups say 97 percent of Mingo County Schools employees said they would participate in a work stoppage, "should circumstances surrounding the omnibus bill merit a work stoppage."

All of this is in response to the proposed Senate education omnibus bill. Monday, in a rare move, the West Virginia Senate fast-tracked the controversial bill, skipping the Senate Finance Committee and going straight to the entire Senate.

The proposal is 144 pages long and puts 60 topics under one umbrella piece of legislation including pay raises, education reforms and charter schools.

MCEA President Brandon Wolford and AFT-Mingo President Sherrie Spence released the following statement Tuesday evening, "Elected leadership of the Mingo County Education Association and AFT-Mingo received authorization from 97% of Mingo County Schools employees to call for one day of action should circumstances surrounding the omnibus education bill merit a work stoppage."

Officials with the organizations did not specify which day the stoppage would happen.

In 2018, Mingo County was the first group in the state to authorize a work stoppage and among the first in the state to stop work as teachers fought for a pay raise and PEIA benefits.

ORIGINAL STORY 1/28/19

Members of the Mingo County Education Association and American Federation of Teachers in Mingo County on Monday night authorized a vote on a work stoppage.

All of this is in response to the proposed Senate education omnibus bill.

Monday, in a rare move, the West Virginia Senate fast-tracked the controversial bill, skipping the Senate Finance Committee and going straight to the entire Senate.

The proposal is 144 pages long and puts 60 topics under one umbrella piece of legislation including pay raises, education reforms and charter schools.

Brandon Wolford, president of the Mingo County WVEA, said by phone Monday night that it is not clear when members will vote to authorize the work stoppage or when the work stoppage would actually happen.

In 2018, Mingo County was the first group in the state to authorize a work stoppage and among the first in the state to stop work as teachers fought for a pay raise and PEIA benefits.

Wolford calls the current bill "crippling" and more detrimental to students than teachers.

Wolford says educators have many concerns, among them that the proposal will allow for class sizes to increase to 28. Currenly the cap for some grade levels is set at 25 students. He fears it will hurt the teacher-student ratio.

Wolford is also concerned about the funding of charter schools, requirements for teachers in those schools and split-grade classrooms in public schools.