West Virginia House OKs surplus funding to offset insurance

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A strike by thousands of West Virginia teachers, which has shut down all public schools there and has been deemed illegal by the state's attorney general, will continue Monday, union leaders announced Friday afternoon.

West Virginia Education Association president Dale Lee said that teachers have not seen a commitment from the state's lawmakers in solving the issues they've raised during the walkout. The pay raise, which amounts to 4% over the next few years, is a reduction from an earlier version of the bill that proposed a 5% total increase in wages, Campbell said, also remarking that teachers in surrounding states make anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 more than teachers in West Virginia. "Therefore, teachers, service professionals across the state of West Virginia will continue to be out Monday".

Read the full story on Saturday in The News and Sentinel.

The state's teachers - among the lowest-paid in the USA - have demanded larger raises and more affordable healthcare.

The Public Employees Insurance Agency, or PEIA, has agreed to freeze health insurance premiums and rates for the next fiscal year for teachers and other workers.

Teachers are anxious the proposed solution is only temporary or worse, especially if the state surplus turns out to be minimal. "They weren't unified in 1990, but we are today".

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Teachers from the Pendleton County School District rallied at the stop light in town on Thursday and Friday.

Organizers reported large crowds Thursday, with lines to get into the capitol to protest wrapping around the building.

From left, Heather Myers, Sharon Cobaugh, Jessica Kesecker and Ashley Bowman demonstrate in animal costumes at the West Virginia State Capitol on the second day of the teacher walkout in Charleston, W.V., on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.

"Based on the past two days, I'm not expecting a problem from any county", Lee said.

The West Virginia House of Delegates voted to send $29 million from the state's rainy day fund to pay for the health insurance rate freeze.

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