West Virginia governor signs bill to give striking teachers pay raise

WV Schools to Open, Buses to Roll After Nine-Day Strike

West Virginia Teachers Have Just Won Their 5% Raise Nine Days After Starting A Statewide Strike

After more than a week of shuttered classrooms, the teacher strike in West Virginia is set to come to an end.

In Oklahoma, teachers are weighing a possible walkout over budget cuts that have led to four-day school weeks in the state and teachers' average salaries trailing those in West Virginia.

Regarding health benefits, teachers have expressed concerns about the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and unaffordable premium increases, calling for a permanent fix.

West Virginia legislators plan to meet Tuesday in search of a compromise that could end the strike by West Virginia teachers, now entering its ninth day.

News of an agreement first began to circulate the morning of March 6.

"We have reached a deal", West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said.

Both houses of the Legislature suspended rules and passed the bill by 1 p.m.

Though now limited to West Virginia, the strike has had repercussions outside the state as teachers in Oklahoma say they, too, have reached their breaking point and are considering walking off the job next month.

The House of Delegates and the Senate approved the deal a short time later, sending it to Justice for his signature.

"All the focus should have always been on fairness and getting the kids back in school, " he said in the tweet.

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It was important to be good and serious so we're ready for Tuesday. "We're used to hard atmospheres". They are important players but we have to look to Tuesday's game.

"You have had a victory ... but the real winners of all of this are the students of West Virginia". Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair announced after the conference committee hearing that lawmakers will be funding the raises through "very deep" cuts to the state's budget, including entitlement programs and tourism, according to the West Virginia Gazette-Mail.

However, when Justice, also a Republican, signed the bill Tuesday, he said, "There's not a chance on this planet that's going to be the case", the New York Times reported.

State schools Superintendent Steve Paine said in a statement he was "pleased that our students, teachers and service personnel will return to school" Wednesday.

Missed school days will be made up, either at the end of the school year or by shortening spring break, depending on decisions by individual counties.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, cheered the educators' "labor solidarity" and pushing for conditions that would allow the best possible environments for their students to learn.

West Virginia House Democrats called the ordeal, which kept kids from school for almost two weeks, "legislative malpractice at worst, and legislative sleight of hand at best".

But the deal only covers half of what the teachers participating in a nine-day strike were asking for. "The House wouldn't agree to the Senate's move, sending the bill to the conference committee". Our resolve is to have more jobs in West Virginia to have a stronger tax base.

The success of the West Virginia strike appears to have inspired Oklahoman educators, who say they are considering their own protest next month. The Senate offered only 4 percent. Details were not disclosed publicly.

"Teachers seem to be mistreated throughout the country, so we are hoping other teachers and other public employees step up and tell their government they have had enough", he said.

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