UPDATE: W.Va. Senate Delays Vote on Teacher Pay Raise

By: Todd Baucher, The Associated Press Email
By: Todd Baucher, The Associated Press Email
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UPDATE 2/25/2014 5:08 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate postponed voting on a bill to raise all teacher salaries $1,000.

The bill was scheduled for a vote on Tuesday but was held over until Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Senate Education Committee amended the bill to grant teachers the across-the-board raise, increasing it from a 2 percent raise.

The bill also sets a goal to increase the state's minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019.

The minimum salary in West Virginia is currently $27,917. According to the West Virginia Education Association, the state ranks 48th in the country for teacher pay.

The bill also sets around a 2 percent raise for school service personnel.

If passed by the Senate Wednesday, the bill will advance to the House.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 2/25/2014 11:40 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate will vote Tuesday on a bill proposing a $1,000 pay raise for all teachers across the state.

The Senate Education Committee amended the bill to grant teachers the across-the-board raise, increasing it from a 2 percent raise.

The bill also sets a goal to increase the state's minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019.

The minimum salary in West Virginia is currently $27,917. According to the West Virginia Education Association, the state ranks 48th in the country for teacher pay.

The bill also sets around a 2 percent raise for school service personnel.

If passed by the Senate Tuesday, the bill will advance to the House.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 1/9/2014 4:50 PM

More money per paycheck for West Virginia teachers.

That's what Governor Tomblin proposes, even though the state faces a tight budget.

Governor Tomblin Thursday night, in his state of the state address, suggested teachers this year should get a two percent pay raise.

The head of the state's teachers association is pleased, but adds it shouldn't be the last raise they get.

"We look at this as a first step," says Dale Lee. "And we have to look at a multi-year plan to be able to entice teachers to come into the profession, and to stay in West Virginia."

That proposal was part of a package the governor proposed, which also includes pay raises for all state employees.


Updated: 1/8/2014 10:45 P.M.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Gov. Early Ray Tomblin is comparing West Virginia to a garden that is starting to see the growth from policies he's put in place.

Tomblin used the analogy during his State of the State address Wednesday night, saying that legislation that was passed last year to improve schools and help the business climate are already seeing sprouts of success.

And he made proposals to build on those changes, including the implementation of an A-through-F grading system for public schools and a stronger emphasis on science and math courses.

And while the state is facing a tight budget year, Tomblin said it remains strong because West Virginia has until now resisted dipping into its reserves.

The governor also emphasized the need to fight drug abuse.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Now the real work begins for lawmakers.. in finding the funding for a teacher's pay raise.. and implementing the governor's STEM initiative.

Two of the area's lawmakers serve on legislative finance committees.
Their task: to find the money to fund the governor's proposed pay raises.

For the first time in several years, the governor proposed 2% pay raises for the state's teachers, and what he called "modest" hikes for state employees.

But the question is: how to pay for it, with the state continuing to take in less in revenue this year.

"We'll work with all the agencies," said Democratic Delegate Dan Poling, "and make sure the money we have in the state budget can be utilized for the citizens of West Virginia, and, in the end, come up with a balanced budget, just like we always do."

"We're down about $250-300 million right now," noted Republican State Senator Donna Boley, "so I'm not sure where he sees the money coming from. I guess it will be presented in finance (Thursday) morning."

The governor didn't say much about the state's finances, except that, even considering it's in tough economic times, it maintains a high credit rating, and there hasn't been a general increase in taxes in 18 years.

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UPDATE 1/8/2014 4:45 PM

Wednesday launched the first day of the West Virginia Legislative session.

Lawmakers went into session Wednesday afternoon, but the day's highlight comes Wednesday night.

West Virginia lawmakers face a tight budget year.

The House of Delegates gaveled-in at noon and the Senate gaveled-in several minutes later.

Governor Tomblin delivers his fourth State of the State Wednesday night and is expected to talk about the budget and cuts to some state agencies.

You can see the state of the state on My5 - that's cable channel 97 or 47.2 over the air.

It'll also stream live on TheNewsCenter.TV.

Click on the link to the right to access the livestream.


Another winter, another West Virginia legislative session.

It begins Wednesday with the governor's State of the State message.

One thing that will make this session interesting is that it comes during an election year, with Republicans talking a lot about wanting to take control of the legislature.

Two items we've heard a lot about in recent weeks are sure to be issues this year.

One is a proposal to make pseudoephedrine, a major ingredient in manufacturing meth, available by prescription only.

One delegate believes it has a chance of passage, even with the pharmaceutical industry opposed to it.

"There's a lot of law enforcement, obviously, that supports it," says Delegate John Ellem. "There's quite a few delegates that support it. It was prescription-only at one time, but it will be interesting to see where that goes."

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has proposed limiting the amount of pseudoephedrine a person can buy in a year's time, but stopped short of backing the prescription-only idea.

Also an issue this year will be the state budget.

State tax collections have fallen short of projections nearly every month since the fiscal year began last July.

Even so, Republican legislators are renewing a call they made last year for tax reductions.


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