State superintendent: Realities may not allow teachers to get everything they deserve

Steven Paine, West Virginia superintendent of schools. issues a statement Tuesday afternoon as a response to the teacher work stoppage. (MGN Online/ Fbot / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

As school districts make decisions regarding the planned teacher walkouts Thursday and Friday, the West Virginia superintendent of schools is saying the state may not immediately be able to give them what he said they deserve.

Steven Paine, West Virginia superintendent of schools, issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon as a response to the work stoppage.

As a lifelong educator, I fully recognize and support the work of our teachers and service personnel. Our educators are committed to their profession and dedicate their passions every day to providing West Virginia students with the education they deserve. Only as we are able to provide competitive benefits – inclusive of adequate pay and affordable healthcare – are we able to recruit and retain the best talent. I fully recognize that our teachers and service personnel deserve more and, I personally know the West Virginia Board of Education, our governor and our state legislators agree. Unfortunately, the economic realities of our state may not allow everything teachers deserve to take place immediately.

"I regret that circumstances have led to the announcement of a statewide work stoppage, and I am working diligently with all parties to advocate for a prompt resolution. I am hopeful that action will be taken to prevent any disruption to students and classrooms. Work stoppages by public employees are not lawful in West Virginia and will have a negative impact on student instruction and classroom time. Families will be forced to seek out alternative safe locations for their children, and our many students who depend on schools for daily nutrition will face an additional burden. I encourage our educators to advocate for the benefits they deserve, but to seek courses of action that have the least possible disruption for our students.”

Paine met this week with all county superintendents. He said all county superintendents are hopeful that negotiations will result in an agreement prior to a work stoppage.

“Be assured that our county superintendents are working tirelessly to minimize disruption to students and communicate frequently with parents regarding plans in the event of a work stoppage,” he said in the statement. “Each county will make a decision based on the unique needs of its county, keeping the safety and well-being of students as a top priority.”

The West Virginia Board of Education will hold an emergency session Wednesday regarding the planned two-day statewide teacher work stoppage.

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