With PEIA proposal, Raleigh County teachers consider leaving West Virginia

Raleigh County

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The frustration over the new PEIA proposals continues to simmer from teachers across the state, especially in Raleigh County. After the closed-doors meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2018, they still think their voices aren’t being heard, saying the higher premiums would make their tough financial situations even worse.

“20% of my income will be my premium,” said teacher Crystal Yost.  “I can’t afford that.”

In fact, the proposed trio of adjusted premiums, 1% pay raise, and removal of the statewide mandate regarding seniority has prompted teachers a difficult decision to leaving West Virginia.  One of them, Karen Miller, has been teaching in the Mountain State for 17 years. With a daughter in high school wanting to stay with friends and graduate, she decided to stay. But with these proposed changes, Miller is thinking twice.

“I’m stuck,” Miller said. “I was trying to consider what we’re going to do in this situation.  I’m thinking ‘Why should she be punished or why should I be punished anymore for staying here, trying to endure this, to get what I paid into?'”

Miller and other teachers hope state lawmakers keep in mind the lives of educators and the students they teach.

“We want Charleston to know why we’re upset,” Miller said.  “We want them to also know, they need us and those children need us.”

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