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Press release: 50 school boards back competitive pay

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By WVEA Communications Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Fifty county boards of education support the adoption of a multiyear salary increase for teachers and service personnel across West Virginia schools, and board members have signed resolutions pledging their support.

These resolutions, one piece of the West Virginia Education Association’s Competitive Pay Campaign, acknowledge that professional educators and service personnel are the most critical ingredient to providing West Virginia children with a world-class education. They also recognize that competitive salaries and fringe benefits are instrumental to retaining and recruiting highly qualified employees.

In the next five years, more than 50 percent of current state educators will be eligible to retire. In 2012, less than one third of the 1,540 graduates who earned education degrees from West Virginia colleges and universities returned to teach in the state.

By signing the resolutions, school board members also recognize that average teacher salaries in West Virginia are nearly $10,000 below the national average, and that our state ranked 30th for teacher pay in 1993 but has since dropped to 48th.

Teacher salaries in West Virginia trail all five of our neighboring states, and most significantly Maryland (by nearly $19,000) and Pennsylvania (by more than $17,000).

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has proposed a 2 percent salary increase for all public education employees. In a lean budget year, this is a good first step and recognition of the fact that something has to be done to make our salaries competitive.

But a multiyear commitment to salaries is the next step to competing with our bordering states.

WVEA will present these resolutions to Gov. Tomblin and they are being presented on the floors of the House of Delegates and the state Senate.       

The 50 counties whose board members signed the resolutions are: Barbour, Berkeley, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming.

The WVEA expects other counties to have their resolutions signed in the next few weeks.