State employee pay raise resolution reached, school resumes Thursday

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – Union leaders sat down with Governor Jim Justice Tuesday afternoon to workout a plan that would satisfy teachers and other state employees.

Along with a five percent pay raise for educators and a three percent pay raise for other state employees, the Governor promised to put together a group of people that would find solutions to fund PEIA.

“We’re going to appoint a task force right off the get-go to really dig into PEIA and find a permanent solution,” Justice explained.

However, these plans are still proposals and must pass both the House and Senate before going into effect. This has lead to some mixed feelings among teachers.

Shay Reid is a teacher in Ohio County and was happy to hear the Governor’s announcement.

“I’m feeling very relieved. I’m feeling like we can trust our union leaders to stay on top of it to fund PEIA and I’m very happy with this salary increase,” Reid said.

Other teachers were weary of this resolution and believe a permanent fix to PEIA will be put on the back burner. Carmen Soltesz, a teacher in Mingo County, said she was never fighting for a pay raise in the first place. 

“It feels like just a band-aid and they think we will get distracted or happy with a pay-raise. But this is about all state employees getting insurance funded appropriately for the long term,” Soltesz explained.

Dale Lee, President of WVEA, assured union leaders will remain diligent in fighting to find a revenue source for PEIA.

“We have a commitment to have a plan in place and a course of action in place before the 2020 plan is rolled out in December,” Lee said.

This pay raise proposal still has to go through the West Virginia House and Senate. 

School will be closed Wednesday, Feb. 28 as a “Day of Preparation.” School will go back into session across the state Thursday, March 1.  

We will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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