Governor signs pay raise bill

Are sugary drinks the answer to funding PEIA in West Virginia

"This was nearly completely a grassroots movement", said Erica Newsome, an English teacher in Logan County. He said this is because of medical inflation.

The work stoppages could have consequences for teachers and school employees, including being denied pay, suspended, fired or barred from teaching in public school for a year, the Gazette-Mail reported. "We were 48th in the nation for teacher pay, and that's where we're still at". Teachers will receive another 1 percent raise for the following two years for a total of 4 percent.

"Time after time, we're told that our public schools are the cornerstone of all the great things that can happen in our state and that education is the key to economic development", Lee said. She said the decision to walkout was not an easy one.

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. Workers know how much it irritates the reactionary legislators to face a Friday confrontation.

"I depend on my students to come to school, and I expect that of them and they should be able to expect that of me - for me to be healthy and strong and to be taken care of, especially", she said.

There is also the West Virginia School Service Professional Association, or WVSSPA, which represents bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and clerical workers.

Parents have held informational pickets before and after school, and even some school boards and superintendents have issued statements of support. Therefore, the schools closed.

In Mason County, teachers and service personnel supported a one-day work stoppage which took place last Friday, allowing staff to protest at the Capitol Complex in Charleston. These protests are a response to the actions of the Governor and the Legislature. "We were officially on strike, so if it comes to that on Monday, I'm willing to do it", she said.

"I feel that many Democrats that could have helped you dove in the ditch last year and are now grandstanding because of the election year". Due to press deadlines, the Wetzel Chronicle will have more on the February 19 resolution on its website at www.wetzelchronicle.com and in next week's February 28 Chronicle.

As protestors rallied outside, the West Virginia Senate, led by Senator Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, voted to shut down until early evening, when they hoped the crowds outside would subside.

Cooley said the resolution was adopted on February 17 and will be submitted. "Over the past eight years, those surpluses have ranged between 12-340 million dollars". "PEIA (the Public Employees Insurance Agency) affects 20,000 people, and we're only 10 or 20 percent of that". I've asked and the PEIA board has voted to eliminate the mandated participation in the Go365 program, the use of combined household income to determine rates, and to freeze the plan for 16 months while we examine it and enact a long-term solution to the PEIA problems that may exist.

Associated Press reports and Beth Sergent contributed to this article.

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