West Virginia teacher walkouts still expected Thursday

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A West Virginia mayor says he may close his city's recreation centers or disallow school programming in them if a Senate gun bill becomes law. "They are engaged in a righteous and fundamental American values fight for dignity and respect".

That action includes a 2-percent pay hike for next year, followed by a 1-percent raise the following two years, which was approved by both the House and Senate and Tuesday and signed by Gov. Jim Justice Wednesday evening.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee told CNN that teachers had told the governor "from day one" the proposed raises were not enough.

Besides the PEIA, teachers are also concerned about seniority elimination and pay-roll deduction elimination. A further point of dispute is the rising health-care costs at the state Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA).

Lucinda Burns, a teacher at Point Harmony Elementary, told WSAZ earlier this month during a protest at the Capitol, "We need our students to have teachers who aren't anxious about a second job".

"Right now I work in a county in West Virginia where I can have a five minute longer drive to work in a different state and make thousands of dollars more in Maryland,"said Joshua Dobbs, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Spring Mills Middle School in Berkeley County".

"I understand they want more money, I get that, better insurance - I'm all for that".

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Amid the growing protests from public school employees, Justice proposed that move, which stopped previously approved benefit cuts from occurring, and Republican legislative leaders have pushed to find funding to support the freeze.

Despite heavy rains and flooding, Wetzel County Schools personnel braved the elements and held informational pickets on February 16, outside of the county's schools.

I feel that many Democrats who could have helped you dove in the ditch last year and are now grandstanding because of the election year.

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement calling the impending work stoppage "unlawful", with state and case law providing the option to seek an injunction to end it. "It's not much, but it's more than they are giving you in Charleston", joked Wade as he hands them cards for free six-inch subs.

Cooley said during the Winter Conference of the WVSBA, Grace requested the association show its support of teachers and service personnel. The two-day work stoppage was scheduled to continue on Friday.

"To us, this freeze doesn't fix anything", said Sarah Lough, a middle school teacher in Lewis County, during a public hearing hosted by the PEIA Finance Board on February 13.

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