PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (WTAP) UPDATE: 03/06/2018, 3:55 P.M.
In a ceremony on Tuesday at the State Capitol, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill giving a 5% pay raises to teachers, school-service personnel and State Troopers, effective on July 1, 2018.
A bill giving five-percent pay raises to West Virginia teachers, school-service personnel and state troopers now awaits the signature of Gov. Jim Justice.
The Senate voted 34-0 to approve the bill and send it to the governor, who has scheduled a news conference for later Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier, the House of Delegates voted 99-0 to approve the legislation negotiated in a conference committee of six House and Senate lawmakers.
The raises will go into effect on July 1.
As part of the agreement, lawmakers also agreed to a include five-percent pay raises for all other state employees in a separate, overall budget bill that still must be adopted by both chambers..
We'll have continued coverage, including reaction from lawmakers, union leaders and teachers online and during WTAP News @ 5 and 6.
UPDATE: 03/06/18 12:10 P.M.
The West Virginia House has unanimously passed the conference report on House Bill 4145.
This is the bill that will provide a five-percent pay raise for teachers, service personnel and state police. A pay raise for all other state employees will be built into the state budget.
The Senate still needs to approve the conference report from Tuesday before the bill is sent to Gov. Jim Justice.
On Tuesday morning, the governor announced that a deal had been reached to provide a 5 percent pay raise across the board for all state employees.
In their conference committee meeting, senators receded their 4 percent bill to go with the 5 percent approved by the House.
The governor and lawmakers have said they expect teachers and service personnel to return to the classroom Wednesday.
No statement has been made by union leaders on when school will resume.
UPDATE: 10:45 A.M.
Members of a joint House and Senate committee Senators and Delegates in the Conference Committee say West Virginia can expect them to suspend the rules Tuesday and pass the five percent pay raise bill.
On Tuesday morning, Senators agreed to recede from their position and accept the House position to the five-percent pay raise for teachers, service personnel and state police. The deal also includes a five percent pay raise across the board for all state employees. That will be added into the final budget.
So far, there has been on statements from union leaders.
There's also no word yet on when classes might actually resume.
In Wood County, Mike Fling, assistant superintedent of schools, says he had just heard about the deal and was working to gather more information.
He says there is no timeline in place for re-opening schools but that the goal is to do so in the most timely manner possible.
Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said the Senate had a lot of concern going through the process with what was fiscally responsible. He says he believes this is the largest pay raise in West Virginia history.
Blair says this five-percent raise for all state employees will happen without increasing any taxes but there will be some pain because they will not be using any of the $58 million of the governor's revenue estimates.
He is encouraging superintendents, teachers, and service personnel to go back to work. He said it should be "in the quickest fashion possible for our students and the State of West Virginia."
Blair says to make this pay raise possible there will be a $20 million reduction in spending for state government. He says these funds will partly be taken out of Medicaid.
Senator Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said in the Conference Committee Tuesday that while it has been a challenging road, he thinks the end product is something positive for everybody in the state.
Democratic members of the House released a statement Tuesday saying they are pleased that the Senate came around to their position.
"Teachers, school service personnel, state employees and their allies have made their voices heard the past 9 days," House Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) stated. "House Democrats were pleased to rally with these educators, and we thank them for putting pressure on the Governor and the Legislature to act."
Students have been out of class since the walkout began on Feb. 22.
A 9-day-old teacher walkout in West Virginia is coming to an end, according to a news release from Gov. Jim Justice and legislative leaders.
The release issued Tuesday morning says: Governor Justice stood rock solid on the 5 percent teacher pay raise and delivered. Not only this, but he and his staff made additional cuts which gave all state employees 5 percent as well. All the focus should have always been on fairness and getting the kids back in school."
Legislative leaders says the deal for a five-percent pay raises for all state employees will be achieved through budgets cuts and not by using updated revenue estimates provided by the governor's office.
The news release also says that because of the governor's leadership, the Mountain State's economy is now growing at a 4.7 percent growth rate and can afford helping our people.
We'll have more on this developing story as details become available online and on WTAP News @ Noon.
UPDATE: 03/06/18 9:10 A.M.
The legislative conference committee discussing pay raises for West Virginia educators and other state employees is scheduled to begin meeting again at 10 a.m. at the state capitol in Charleston.
The panel of 6 lawmakers - two Republicans and one Democrat from both the House and Senate - held two sessions Monday without coming to an agreement that might end the statewide teacher walkout, which is now in its ninth day.
We'll continue to follow the story with updates online and on WTAP News @ Noon.
UPDATE: 03/05/18 5:40 P.M.
Members of a House and Senate committing debating legislation to raise salaries of West Virginia teachers plan to meet again Monday evening after discussing the legislation for about 90 minutes Monday afternoon.
The six-member conference committee made up of two Republicans and one Democrat from each chamber, is debating whether to raise the salaries of teachers, school-service personnel and state troopers by five percent and all other state employees by three percent, or whether to give all state employees four percent raises.
The dispute has closed West Virginia schools for eight days, and many schools, including Wood, Wirt, Calhoun and Jackson already have cancelled classes for Tuesday.
UPDATE: 03/05/18 10:22 A.M.
A conference committee of House and Senate leaders plans to meet at 4 p.m. Monday to begin sorting out a pay-raise dispute that has kept West Virginia schools closed for more than a week.
The panel of six House and Senate lawmakers, including Wood County Delegate Bill Anderson, was appointed Saturday after legislators could not agree on a pay-raise bill for education workers and state troopers.
"This situation has evolved very quickly in recent days, and we want to make sure committee members have a full array of accurate information available to make a well-informed decision," Espinosa said on Sunday. "To accomplish that, we have instructed our respective Finance Committee staffs to pull data and put together the necessary fiscal information, and have separately reached out to the governor’s office staff to ask for more budgetary information from the executive branch."
The meeting will take place in the Senate Finance Committee room at the state capitol in Charleston and will be broadcast via livestream on the Legislature's website.
The House is represented on the committee by Republicans Paul Espinosa of Jefferson County and Anderson, and Democrat Brent Boggs of Braxton County.
The Senate is represented by Ryan Ferns of Ohio County, Craig Blair of Berkeley County and Democrat Robert Plymale of Wayne County.
ORIGINAL STORY 03/04/18
West Virginia school teachers and their unions are not happy after the West Virginia Senate passed a bill yesterday for a lower pay increase than what was expected.
Earlier this week, the house of delegates passed a bill giving teachers. school service personnel, and state police a 5% raise. The Senate Finance Committee ended up putting forward a 4% raise in the altered bill. Local education officials are frustrated with the revised bill.
Greg Merritt of the Wood County Federations of Teachers spoke to us about the disappointment of state employees: "The governor's proposal which included the 5% seemed to have been well received by the leaders of the house and the Senate when they were in negotiation and we were very disappointed in the action of the Senate that 5% seemed to be agreed upon by all parties and for us to now know that they are considering dropping that seems very disheartening."
Schools will remain closed throughout West Virginia on Monday including wood county schools.