A coalition of groups representing county superintendents, school administrators, teachers and service professionals stood under the dome of the capitol building. They held a press conference to tell legislators why they want an alternative to the omnibus bill that was passed by the Senate Education Committee
Although the bill includes a five percent pay raise, a $100 million dollar boost to PEIA and banking sick days for educators, other overhauls, like charter schools and rollbacks on teacher seniority, are at stake.
Union Representatives, like WVEA President Dale Lee, are calling this a ‘take it or leave it’ type of deal, and they are not happy with the terms.
“They just see it as the Senate Republican Leadership saying ‘alright we’ll one up you,'” Lee said. “They’re saying ‘we’ll take the pay raise, and end all the things that we couldn’t pass before and force legislators to vote on the bad things if they want to pass the good things.'”
Following the first reading of the bill on the Senate Floor, Republican Senate President Mitch Carmichael denied accusations by educators that this omnibus bill was a retaliatory move by lawmakers for last year’s strike.
“That’s ridiculous,” State Sen. Carmichael said. “There’s not a retaliatory bone in anyone’s body, one of things that I’ll point out that absolutely absolves any retaliation is that most of the components of this major overhaul have been proposed in the past.”
Teachers, like, Sissonville High School Science Teacher, Rachel Marshal, came in support to stand in the same building, wearing the same colors they wore to fight for better pay and better benefits last year. Marshal said they are doing this not just for themselves, but for their students.
“We love our children and we love our jobs, but we need to make sure we are taken care,” Marshall said. “If we aren’t taken care of how can we take care of our kids the way they need.”