Teacher pay raise bill to see vote

February 24, 2014 by Whitney Burdette

The Senate is expected to vote on legislation tomorrow that would increase pay for teachers and school service personnel.

Senate Bill 391 will be brought up for a vote when the Senate meets at 11:30 today. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed the legislation in his January State of the State address, suggesting teachers receive a 2 percent bump in pay. Although the Senate Education Committee amended the bill to give teachers a $1,000 across-the-board raise, the Senate Finance Committee again changed the bill to reflect the governor’s 2 percent proposal, citing state budget concerns.

Supporters of the Senate Education version said the $1,000 raise would help younger teachers more than the 2 percent increase. Teachers in West Virginia’s public schools see incremental pay raises for the first 35 years on the job. By increasing pay for young teachers $1,000 for the upcoming fiscal year, they would see more money over the long term.

However, the Senate Finance Committee said sticking with Tomblin’s proposal would save about $4.72 million. That committee did leave in language from the Senate Education substitute that calls for base teacher pay to begin at $43,000 annually starting in 2019.

“That didn’t affect this year’s budget which is what we have before us and why were constrained by the fiscal note,” Finance Committee counsel told members Friday.

The version of the bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee will go before the full Senate on Tuesday. If it passes, it will then go before the House of Delegates.

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