West Virginia teachers agreed with the state governor to end their nine-day strike in exchange for five percent raises.
Teachers from all 55 of West Virginia’s counties will return to classrooms after leaving more than 277,000 students in late February without teachers, reported The Washington Post. All state workers, including teachers, will benefit from the raise.
“We will move forward,” said Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice at a news conference, according to WaPo. “No more looking back. West Virginia renews its investment in education and our precious children today.”
West Virginia’s average teacher salary, $45,622, ranked 48th in the United States, according to a 2016 National Education Association survey.
“You’re seeing it, frankly, on legislators’ faces, on the governor’s face, on members here, on parents,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said, according to WaPo. “It is a sense of joy here, that West Virginia figured out a way to help its public schools, to help its public-school educators, to help its public-school employees, and it did it together.”
Teacher complaints ranged from not having enough money to pay student loans to lacking medical coverage.
“It is important that everyone understand that identifying all of the issues in our health-care program and finding a solution takes time,” said Justice in a letter announcing a task force dedicated to the issue. “A cure won’t come in 30 minutes, but I can promise you this task force will begin its work immediately.”
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