Getting Children Back in School

West Virginia public schools were supposed to be open today. Yet in not a single one were classes in session. Nearly 208,000 children missed one more day of learning.

Today is the sixth day of the strike by members of the state’s two teachers’ unions and that representing school service personnel. That has affected students and many parents adversely in a variety of ways.

Gov. Jim Justice went far out on a political limb Tuesday in an attempt to end the strike. He adjusted revenue estimates for the coming year to reflect that enough money would be available to give school employees the 5 percent pay raise their union leaders had said would be needed to end the walkout.

Last night, House of Delegates members approved a bill meant to put the raise in place. The vote was 99-1. Today, state Senate members are addressing the measure.

Demands to “fix” the Public Employees Insurance Agency have been met as far as Justice and lawmakers can go. They are providing $29 million to freeze health insurance rates for at least 17 months. A task force, including representatives of the unions, is in place to search for and recommend PEIA reforms.

All that led union leaders to recommend their members go back to work today. Reportedly, many strikers refused. Every one of the 55 county school systems remained closed today.

This situation cannot be allowed to persist. Our children need to be back in school.