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Senate passes teachers' raise

Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:54 PM

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Senate approved an across the board raise for teachers Wednesday, the last day for legislation to clear its house of origin for further consideration.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, would give all teachers a one-time $837 pay increase.

The original legislation called for a 2 percent increase, and then was amended to $1,000 before the final figure was reached.

The bill passed 31-2 with one absent, and will now be taken up by the House of Delegates.

Plymale said the bill is in line with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's agenda to get a pay raise for educators.

The senator said he wanted to make sure the legislation went across the board, and he was happy with a dollar-based amount.

"That affects our young teachers a bit more and gets them more in line with what they should be making," Plymale said.

"A 2-percent increase only widens that gap between more experienced teachers and our younger teachers."

Plymale said he was satisfied in getting the legislation through, given that state budget projections for the next two years are gloomy.

"In a tough budget year, in a time when things are difficult, I think this is a very good step in the right direction," he said.

Plymale said he hasn't yet spoken with members of the House of Delegates on the bill's chance to make it to the governor's desk.

"I think this is something that they will be in favor of," he said.

Del. Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said he's not sure how the issue will play out.

"We're in a very difficult position with the budget," he said. "We have to see where the money for those raises is coming from and how it will work in the overall picture."

The Senate adjourned at 11 a.m. Wednesday, while the House worked until about 6 p.m. hammering out legislation to clear before the crossover day deadline.

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