Pethtel Says He Supports Fiscally Responsible Raise For Teachers, Service Personnel

CHARLESTON — During a House Finance Committee meeting this week addressing legislation to give teachers and service personnel a pay raise, Delegate David Pethtel, D-Wetzel, clarified that he supports a pay raise for teachers and school service personnel — but only one that is fiscally responsible.

“I support Senate Bill 391 as it was passed out by the House Finance Committee: a $1,000 across-the-board raise for professional educators and a 2 percent raise plus an increase in the equity supplement of $12 per month for school service personnel,” Pethtel, a retired teacher of 40 years, said. “We have been assured that there is sufficient funding in the state budget for those much-needed raises.”

Earlier this week, some members of the House Education Committee proposed amendments to the bill to give professional educators an additional $500, which would have cost $15 million, and to provide professional educators a $6,000 raise over the next three years and $3,000 for school service personnel, which would have cost at least $225 million overall.

Pethtel and House Education Chair Mary Poling, D-Barbour, did not support the amendments, which were adopted by the Education Committee but reversed Wednesday by the Finance Committee.

“Neither the West Virginia Education Association nor the West Virginia AFT supported the Education Committee changes because they know there is not money in the state budget to pay for them,” Pethtel said. “We want to provide teachers and service personnel with a raise the state can afford, one the entire Legislature and the governor will approve.

“Having said that, I would like to clarify that I dont believe teachers would understand if we did not pass some form of raise this session, contrary to a news report indicating I stated otherwise. Teachers and service personnel should, and do, expect the Legislature to provide a pay raise this year.”

Pethtel serves on Finance and spoke in favor of returning the original $1,000 for teachers, 2 percent for service personnel provisions to SB 391, which now will go before the full House for a vote.