“Hallelujah!” Lewis County High School teacher Terry McAbee exclaimed in regards to the end of the walkout.
The West Virginia Senate passed the pay raise bill Tuesday, after a nine-day work stoppage that closed all schools in the state.
Lewis County elementary school music teacher Whitney Ballard said she’s glad it’s over, and she and other employees are glad to be returning to work. Robert L. Bland Middle School teacher Sonja James added, “We stood strong.”
This was echoed by Lewis County school employees, as well.
Superintendent Steve Casto said, “It’s a relief.”
He also said LCHS Seniors will not be affected, and they will graduate on the scheduled day.
“We may get creative in make-up days, but we’re going to be flexible within the limits of the law,” he said.
Casto said he also saw no other path than to support school employees, saying, “It only makes sense to support your employees, because now they’re content, they’re motivated, and they’re happy. They’re not worried about having to cut things [in their own budgets].”
Senators, including Senator Mike Romano (D-12) and Senator Richard Ojeda (D-7), greeted teachers in Charleston after the bill was passed, chanting “55 Strong!,” and, “You are worth it!”
LCHS teacher Doug Seckman said he’s happy to be back in the classroom, but still anxious for PEIA to get fixed.
“We’ll have to pay attention to what’s going on with the Task Force,” he said.
LCHS Band Director Allen Heath summed it up with, “We’re back.”