Published: Tue, March 06, 2018

West Virginia schools closed for Day 8 of statewide teacher strike

West Virginia schools closed for Day 8 of statewide teacher strike

The teachers on strike in West Virginia delivered yet another message to lawmakers by packing the state Capitol building to capacity Monday, the eighth school day of the walkout.

The House approved a 5 percent pay hike, but the Senate agreed on 4 percent. While the state House passed a bill that includes a 5% raise, the Senate passed a bill with only a 4% raise. The House wouldn't agree to the Senate's move, sending the bill to the conference committee. No further talks were immediately scheduled. "They're taking a big risk and they're putting themselves out there and fighting for the future of our state, which are these children", Vasale said. He noted the impact of the impasse on students, including those who depend on schools for their meals. It's her way of supporting the walkout, which has kept more than 270,000 students out of school.

The West Virginia teacher's strike entered a new week with no immediate resolution in sight. "A lot of people think that we're just enjoying time away from school, but it's really not that".

Rachel Stringer, as a stay-at-home mom from Cross Lanes, said her biggest challenge has been making sure her children don't forget what they've learned this school year.

While saying she is "very supportive" of the teachers, Carty said she is anxious about the students during the strike. If a meeting of the minds eventually fails, an earlier law specifying a 2% raise for teachers' pay would kick in, and then 1% over two years. "It literally broke my heart that our kids - no matter how young they are - understand that our teachers love them and deserve more". Senators say the pay increase is overdue, but by granting the 4 percent raise they can avoid a tax increase. Since then, angry teachers have gone to the Capitol to press legislators to raise their pay, almost the lowest in the nation, after four years without an increase.

With their vote Saturday evening, the Republican-controlled chamber bucked teachers, Republican Gov. Jim Justice and the Republican-controlled House, which approved the 5 percent raise on Wednesday.

Democrats called on their Republican colleagues to approve a deal negotiated by Gov. Justice and the unions for a 5 percent pay hike.

Teachers have said they will continue to strike until a 5% raise is passed, and their supporters agree.

Because the House would not concur with the change the Senate made to the bill the House passed Thursday, three members of each body were appointed to a conference committee which will try to hammer out an agreement.

Kristie Skidmore, an elementary school reading specialist, has an adult clothing shop at her home.

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