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'We Can Get Back to Our Kids, Where We Need to Be' - Teacher Work Stoppage Appears to be Over

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Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting
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Teacher sheds tears of happiness at Capitol as vote is announced.

Updated on Mar. 6, 2018 at 8:30 p.m.

After nine long days of a teacher and service personnel work stoppage, it looks like it’s come to an end. Lawmakers have agreed to a five percent pay raise for teachers as well as a five percent pay increase for all public workers.

Thousands of teachers and other public employees erupted in cheers and tears as senators opened their chamber doors to announce approval of a bill that increases pay to teachers, school personnel, and state troopers by five percent.

A five percent pay raise for all state employees was also agreed to in a conference committee and will be managed in the upcoming state budgeting process.

Fifth-grade teacher Lori Jarrett from Boone County said she cried when the vote came. When asked how she was feeling, Jarrett said she was, "tired, exhausted, so happy, so happy that we won, and this is finally over, and we can get back to our kids where we need to be."

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Cheers at state capitol Tuesday afternoon.

Lawmakers have said there will be areas and services that will be cut, however, in order to give the promised pay raises.

Emily Tanzey, an eighth grade English teacher from Monongalia County, said that’s something that concerns her. “I am nervous about the funding source, because in the Senate Finance Committee, they mentioned cuts to things like Medicaid, which makes me really anxious, but overall, I think it’s a win for West Virginia.” 

Governor Jim Justice signed HB 4145, giving a five percent pay raise to teachers, school service personnel and state troopers shortly after the vote was announced. It will go into effect on July 1, 2018.


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