The West Virginia Senate has approved a bill to grant teachers an across-the-board pay raise of $837.
Sen. Bob Plymale, a Democrat from Wayne County and the education chair, said the bill originally proposed a 2 percent raise. The amount was changed to a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise in an attempt to increase new teacher salaries as much as possible.
He said the raise was cut to $837 in an effort to stay within the amount budgeted for teacher pay. “I believe this bill does what we trying to do long-term, which is raise starting salaries to the highest possible,” he said.
Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said starting salaries must be nationally competitive to attract new, young teachers.
The bill sets a goal to increase the state’s minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019. If approved by the House, Senate Bill 391 will raise starting teacher salary to $32,512.
The bill also grants service personnel a 2 percent pay increase.
Senators Mitch Carmichael and Brooks McCabe voted against the bill.
McCabe said he believes teachers and other state employees deserve raises but he’s concerned about voting for any raises while the state budget is not yet balanced.
“In the future, when we are posed with salary increases, I ask the Senate to address where the money is coming from. Do we have the money to spend, and, most importantly, can we improve the efficiency and effectiveness? We need to redefine and rework education in a way that we can live within our means,” said McCabe.
The bill moves to the House.