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UPDATE: W.Va. Gov. Justice signs pay raise package for state employees

(WSAZ)
Published: Feb. 2, 2018 at 12:40 PM EST
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UPDATE 2/21/18 @ 9:20 p.m.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday has signed legislation that will provide teachers, school service personnel and state police with a 2 percent pay increase starting in July, according to a release from the governor's office.

The governor also has taken the steps in the budget to include a 2 percent pay raise for all other state employees effective July 1, the release states.

For fiscal years 2020 and 2021, teachers would get an additional 1 percent hike, while school service personnel and state police will get an additional 1 percent in fiscal year 2020.

Justice said members of the West Virginia Legislature “did the responsible thing to help our teachers and state employees” by passing the pay raise package on Tuesday.

“We need to keep our kids and teachers in the classroom,” Justice said in the release. “We certainly recognize our teachers are underpaid and this is a step in the right direction to addressing their pay issue. The PEIA board has also voted to approve changes I recommended - I’ve asked and the PEIA board has voted to eliminate the mandated participation in the Go365 program, the use of combined household income to determine rates, and to freeze the plan for 16 months while we examine it and enact a long-term solution to the PEIA problems.

“Now we need to turn our focus back to continuing public education reforms and making our state educational system the best in the country.”

According to the West Virginia Department of Education's website, a statewide teacher walkout is still in effect Thursday for all of the state's 55 counties.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 2/20/18 @ 9:30 p.m.

The West Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday has joined the state Senate in approving a new version of a bill to give pay raises to teachers, school service personnel, and West Virginia State Police.

Fifty-nine House members voted in favor of Senate Bill 267, while 37 voted against it. Four lawmakers abstained from voting.

The Legislature's approval means the bill is headed to Gov. Jim Justice's desk for his approval or veto.

The amended bill would give teachers and school service personnel a 2 percent raise in the first year and a 1 percent raise the following two years.

Previously, teachers were set to get a 2 percent pay raise in the first year and a 1 percent raise the following three years. School service personnel, along with State Police, would have gotten a 2 percent raise in the first year and a 1 percent raise in the second year.

If approved it would go into effect on July 1, 2018.


UPDATE 2/20/18 @ 6:37 p.m.

The West Virginia Senate has approved a new version of a bill to give pay raises to teachers, school service personnel, and West Virginia State Police.

The decision was made on Tuesday with 26 in favor, six against, and one absent.

The amended bill would give teachers and school service personnel a 2 percent raise in the first year and a 1 percent raise the following two years.

Previously, teachers were set to get a 2 percent pay raise in the first year and a 1 percent raise the following three years. School service personnel, along with State Police, would have gotten a 2 percent raise in the first year and a 1 percent raise in the second year.

The bill now heads back to the House of Delegates.

If approved it would go into effect on July 1, 2018.


UPDATE 2/13/18 @ 12:42 p.m.

A bill to give pay raises to teachers, school service personnel and West Virginia State Police is headed back to the Senate for approval.

On Tuesday, the West Virginia House passed Senate Bill 267 with a committee amendment with a 98-1 vote. One delegate was absent.

The amended bill would give teachers a pay raise of two percent the first year and one percent the following three years. State Police and school service personnel would get a two percent raise the first year and one percent the second year.

This would give teachers a raise of $808 the first year and about $2000 total over the four years.

State Police would be given a raise of $864 in the first year.

Several Democratic Delegates expressed their disappointment in the low pay raise amount. They introduced an amendment Monday to give teachers a nine percent total raise but that was shot down.

Republican John Kelly (Wood, 10) said before voting that if revenue is expected to grow over the next few years he would like to see the body readdress the pay raise amounts.

The bill will have to go back to the Senate to approve the amendment made by the House Finance committee. If the Senate approves the bill then Governor Justice must also sign off on it.

If completely passed, the bill would be made effective July 1, 2018.

UPDATE 2/12/18 @ 2:41 p.m.

A bill to give pay raises to teachers, West Virginia State Police and school service personnel is awaiting a vote in the House.

On Monday, the House did a second reading and approved the finance committee amendment to Senate Bill 267. The bill would increase salaries of teachers, service personnel and state police.

The original bill passed by the Senate would have given teachers a pay raise of 1 percent each year for the next five years, while service personnel and state police would be given a raise of one percent for the next two years.

An amendment passed by the House Finance Committee changes those pay raise amounts. This would make it a 2 percent pay raise for teachers in the first year and then 1 percent for the next three years. School service personnel and state police would be given a 2 percent raise the first year and 1 percent the second year.

On Monday, two other delegates proposed amendments to give these public employees an even bigger raise but the amendments were rejected by the House.

One of the amendments was proposed by Delegate Tim Miley and supported by the Democratic caucus. It would have given teachers a 3 percent raise for each of the next three years making it a 9 percent increase. The amendment was rejected by the House in a 42-58 vote.

A second amendment on Monday was proposed by Republican Pat McGeehan. It would have boosted pay by 3 percent the first year but removes that 1 percent raise from the last year. This wouldn't have changed the total pay raise, it would have just front loaded the amount that teachers received. That amendment was also rejected by the House in a 50-50 vote. Because there wasn't a majority, the Speaker had to reject the amendment.

Republican Delegate Daryl Cowles said during the session that both amendments would be outside of what the state can afford at this time.

The Senate Bill with the House Finance Committee amendment will now face a third and final reading in the House on Tuesday. If passed, the bill will have to go back to the Senate for approval and then will head to Gov. Jim Justice.

Teachers have been protesting this month in favor of higher pay checks and better insurance rates.


UPDATE 2/7/18 @ 5:47 p.m.

The Finance Committee of the House of Delegates has approved a plan to give pay raises to teachers, school service personnel, and state police officers.

Wednesday's vote was unanimous.

It follows the Senate approval made last Friday.

For teachers, the plan would provided a 2 percent pay increase for the company fiscal year, followed by 1 percent increases for each of the following three years.

Gov. Jim Justice's original plan called for 1 percent increases each year for the next five.

For state police and school service personnel, the bill would proved a 2 percent raise in the upcoming fiscal year, with a 1 percent increase next year. The original version of the bill included 1 percent raised for this year and the next.

"Members of the House of Delegates want to provide as much of a pay increase to our teachers, State Police, service personnel and public employees as our budget will allow," said House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha. "We believe we can afford a greater salary increase in the coming year."

The bill will now go to the full House for consideration.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


ORIGINAL STORY 2/2/18 @ 5:46 p.m.

A West Virginia Senate bill to raise pay for teachers, State Police and service personnel has passed the Senate.

After a third reading on Friday, Senators voted 33-0-1 for Senate Bill 267. Only one senator was absent from the vote.

Teachers packed the Capitol Friday morning in protest for better pay and health care.

The bill would give teachers a one percent pay raise every year for the next five years and a one percent raise every year for two years for State Police and service personnel.

Teachers at the Capitol Friday say 1 percent is not enough to cover rising costs of PEIA.

The bill will now head to the House for consideration.