By Sarah Plummer
The West Virginia Senate Education Committee is proposing a $1,000 pay raise for all teachers across the state.
The bill originally proposed a 2 percent raise. The committee voted to amend the bill to grant teachers an across-the-board raise because they felt the 2 percent mark didn’t increase beginning teachers’ salaries enough, said Committee Chair Plymale, a democrat from Wayne County.
Plymale said they hope the raise will attract highly qualified teachers.
Plymale explained that many teachers across the state are nearing retirement and the committee wants to compete for new teachers nationally. The minimum salary in West Virginia is currently $27,917. According to the West Virginia Education Association, the average teacher in the state makes about $45,000, which ranks West Virginia 48th in the country.
Senator Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming, said “teacher pay in West Virginia is at the lowest end of the spectrum across the United States. College students aren’t going into the teaching field because of salaries. If we want highly qualified teachers, we are going to have to pay them. And they deserve it.”
While the committee does not feel a $1,000 raise is competitive enough, Plymale said it’s a start.
The bill also makes it a goal to increase the state minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019.
The bill does contain around a 2 percent raise for school service personnel, which would become effective July 1, 2014.
The bill has been passed to the finance committee.