West Virginia teachers’ union is “re-evaluating by the hour,” says union president

The statewide teachers strike in West Virginia will continue for a second day Wednesday, the teachers’ union said Tuesday, despite the House of Delegates effectively killing the bill that led to the strike. American Federation of Teachers West Virginia said the strike would continue to ensure Republican leadership does not try to resurrect the bill Wednesday.

“There are 18 more days left in session to go. We are re-evaluating by the hour,” said Dale Lee, president of the AFT-West Virginia.

Nearly all of West Virginia’s 55 school districts closed Tuesday after teachers walked off the job. A similar strike in 2018 closed school for 18 days.

West Virginia School Service Personnel Association Executive Director Joe White told The Associated Press they have no trust in the Senate leadership, which has tried to rush the bill to passage. 

“We’ve got to stay out one more day to make sure that this is a dead bill tomorrow,” White said.

Striking teachers celebrate as lawmakers reject a bill that would have opened the first charter schools in the state, in Charleston
Striking teachers and legislators celebrate minutes after lawmakers reject a bill that would have opened the first charter schools in the state, at the Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia, on Tue., Feb. 19, 2019.


West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael last year blocked legislation raising teacher wages.

Senate Bill 451 which would have created seven charter schools in West Virginia and would allow 1,000 students to use educational savings accounts, according to CBS Huntington, West Virginia, affiliate WOWK-TV. Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, said Tuesday if the bill included savings accounts and more than two charter schools, he would veto it.

The House of Delegates voted Tuesday to postpone the bill indefinitely, effectively killing the bill.

Teachers told CBS affiliate WOWK-TV they were elated the bill was defeated.

“This is actually my third teachers’ strike and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I want to go back to my classroom and be with my students,” said Angie Kinder, a Cabell County Teacher.

“And this is about making sure our children get a quality education. And if we’re willing to pour more money into it, we should do that into the public school system,” said Brandi Sampson, a Calhoun County Teacher.

Nicole Sganga contributed reporting.

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