CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — Kanawha County’s school superintendent talked to principals Wednesday about a plan to try to keep schools open in the event of a work stoppage.
“This is being planned for so that we can keep our students in school learning, if possible,” Briana Warner, the school system’s communications director, said in an email Thursday.
Three groups that represent school employees, the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, have been given authorization by school employees to do some type of statewide work action if necessary.
So far, there has been no formal announcement about any specific action that might be taken.
Education groups have spoken out against the Senate Bill 451 that was passed by the Senate and then was amended and passed Thursday by the West Virginia House of Delegates. The bill bundles together pay raises with a number of education reforms, including public charter schools.
Warner said the safety and security of students is the first priority and every step will be taken to keep students safe and secure.
“If we cannot ensure the safety and security of students at a particular school or countywide, we will not be able to have students in our care. These decisions will be made day-by-day, as needed,” Warner said.
Warner added that "we support our KCS employees and believe that we have the best teachers and staff in the state.”
Last year, school employees across the state conducted a nine-day strike that shut down schools in 55 counties.