Monongalia County Board of Education Shows Support to Teachers Fighting for Higher Wages

14 Feb

The Monongalia County Board of Education voted unanimously to support higher staff wages at an emergency meeting held on Tuesday, February, 13. This comes directly after the House of Delegates passed the teacher pay raise bill 98-1 and sent it to the Senate. Under this bill, teachers will receive a two percent raise in the first year and then additional one percent raises in each of the following three years, which many teachers are not satisfied with.

The Monongalia County Board of Education immediately addressed the topic at the emergency meeting with President Dr. Barbara L. Parsons stating the following:

“As a reflection of our community’s values, and in accordance with our community’s expectations, for the highest quality education experience possible for its students, the Monongalia County Board of Education provides competitive compensation and benefits to its professional employees and service personnel. By supplementing its employees salaries and benefits with funds derived from the county’s excess levy, the Mon County Board of Education provides the highest entry level teacher’s salary in the state, and supplemental levy funding also grants our service personnel with the second highest average salaries in West Virginia. Additionally, Mon County Schools provides dental and vision insurance and supplemental disability benefits at no cost to its employers.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Monongalia County Board of Education continues to support compensation for all school employees that allows West Virginia to be competitive with surrounding states in terms of recruiting and retaining qualified employees.”

The room, which was filled with many county teachers, was filled with an overwhelming sense of relief as they took in this small victory. This is not an agreement to higher wages, but support toward higher wages issued by the board. The fight for higher wages is far from over, as statewide teachers have already began to speak out about the possibility of a strike.

State teachers do seem to have a rightful argument for pay raise as their average wages are much lower than the national average. State elementary and high school teachers have an annual mean wage of only $45,540, compared to the national average which is $54,520.

I support any and every worker who fights for higher pay, especially when it comes to teachers. Without the many great teachers I had, I can honestly say that I have no idea what I would be doing, or even want to be doing. I am hopeful this plays out well for them. Unions are very strong, from West Virginia teacher unions to Major League Baseball player unions. They have a lot of power, and many times get what they want/deserve whether it happens to be sooner or later.

Hopefully, especially when it comes to teachers, a resolution can be made much sooner rather than later, because at the end of the day a teacher strike hurts nobody more than the children who are just trying to get an exceptional education from exceptional teachers.

 

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