Union Leaders Announce End to Teacher Work Stoppage, Schools to Reopen Thursday

West Virginia
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UPDATE: 2/20/19 @ 11:30 p.m.

House Bill 2730 has made it through the House Finance Committee and was taken up on the house floor. 

Thursday will be the first reading, Friday will be the second reading, and then Monday they will bring it back up for a vote. 

The Governor’s bill would give teachers, school service personnel and state troopers a pay raise and was sponsored by House Speaker Roger Hanshaw and House Minority Leader Tim Miley.

But according to Fred Albert, that trust hasn’t reached the Senate, where House Bill 2730 will eventually need to go.

“I’m really worried because they’re talking about the son of the bill that they’re going to take the pay raise bill that’s currently in, and then edit it until it’s the same thing as 451.

A public hearing on the bill will be held Friday morning and even though the teachers may be back in their classrooms, they are keeping an eye on the gold dome.

“We’re going to watch that closely, and we trust that our members trust us to keep them informed along the way. But we also know that’s not the governor’s intent and he has the right to veto that if they should do something crazy.”

UPDATE: 2/20/19 @ 7:30 p.m.

Union leaders have announced that the teacher work stoppage has ended and that schools will reopen Thursday across the state.

ORIGINAL 2/20/19 @ 6:00 p.m.

Teachers were back protesting for a second day. While the House defeated Senate Bill 451 – the Education Reform Bill – Tuesday, there is a procedural way the House can revive the bill and vote again. Many Republicans say education reform, including things such as charter schools and education savings accounts deserved to be heard. But many Democrats say the bill would pull taxpayer dollars away from the public school system.

“We do have some good things in the bill. However, we have so much negative, that it needs to be killed and needs to be redone, the bill,” said Gloria Triplett, a Logan County teacher.

“School choice is not only good for students, not only good for parents, not only good for taxpayers, but it’s good for educators, because it allows them the leeway. It allows them the opportunity to innovate,” said Del. Marshall Wilson, (R) Berkeley.

The big question now is will there be what’s known as “a motion to reconsider” Senate Bill 451,in the House. It’s possible the measure could be brought back to life, but it must be done before the end of business Wednesday night. Tuesday the house voted to postpone the bill indefinatey.

“I think there are procedural problems if anyone would try to move to reconsider. A motion to postpone indefinately, that is the strongest way to kill a bill. And I’m hoping that’s not going to happen,” said Del. Barbara Evans Fleischauer, (D) Monongalia.

Another option is to pass a stand-alone bill to raise teacher, staff, and all state worker pay by 5 percent, just like last year.

“And you’ll recall we ended up being able to enact the largest aggregate pay raise in our state’s history,” said Del. Paul Espinosa, (R) Jefferson – Majority Whip.

Teachers and state workers are also still hoping for a permananent fix to their PEIA health insurance.

While the Education Reform Bill appears dead fro now, there way to amend other bills such as the pay raise bill, to include things such as charter cchools and education savings accounts. The bottom line: this fight is not over yet.

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