Governor Jim Justice released a statement on Saturday evening after the West Virginia Senate voted in favor of a 4% pay raise for teachers, school service personnel, and state police.
“While everyone is focused on the mistakes, my focus is solely on getting our children back to school,” Justice said.
The amended version of H.B. 4145 was rejected by the House of Delegates and will now go to conference committee. Three representatives from each chamber will work to come to a consensus on the bill.
Governor Justice’s original proposal was to raise pay by 5%.
He said it’s time to “quit playing politics” and “get our kids back to school”.
“This wrangling needs to stop right now,” he continued in the statement. “For crying out loud, we are putting our children at risk. I will not be a party to pitting our state employees against our teachers. I strongly feel we are blessed to have both.”
“Education should be our centerpiece and I have worked tirelessly to get our teachers the 5% pay raise. Additionally, I truly want goodness for all of our state employees and all West Virginians. If revenues continue to improve, I will move quickly working with the Legislature to bring the remaining state workers from 3% to the 5% raise level. But again, the bottom line is we have to be able to fill teacher classroom vacancies and we must get our kids back in the classroom.”