5 percent pay raise for teachers leads to statewide budget cuts

Legislators explain funding the 5% raise for teachers and service employees

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - While the nine-day West Virginia teacher strike has come to an end, legislators must now focus their attention on budget cuts. 

This comes after lawmakers approved a 5% pay raise across the board for both teachers and service employees.

"Everybody stayed together and they said 55 strong, 55 united, 5-percent for all and that's exactly what they got," Senator John Unger, (D) - Berkeley said.

So where is that money coming from?

"It could be coming from Medicaid. It could come from general services. A lot of it came form tourism and commerce, that the governor wanted to have in the original budget, and that's all been wiped out," Senator Craig Blair, (R) - Berkeley said.

Blair said the deal includes $20 million in cuts, but Governor Justice maintains that Medicaid recipients don't have to worry about reductions to their health insurance.

"We are making an investment to make education, and to put education where, in my opinion, over and over should be and that is first," said Governor Jim Justice.

Although PEIA is frozen for the next 16 months, Justice announced the taskforce members will be announced on Thursday.

"We've also started identifying revenue sources, dedicated revenue sources into the stabilization fund to offset some of the insurance, or some of the health care cost increases," Unger said.

The deadline has also been pushed back for high school students applying for the Promise Scholarship. They now have until March 30th to do so.

School will be in session across all 55 counties on Wednesday.

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