Brooke school board asked to support pay raises

WELLSBURG – A representative of the West Virginia Education Association has asked the Brooke County Board of Education to support it in seeking higher wages for teachers from state officials.

Tim Turner, president of the WVEA’s Brooke County chapter and a Brooke County teacher, asked the board on Monday to support a resolution supporting better pay for teachers throughout the state.

Turner said the resolution, which has been supported by school boards from several other counties, will be submitted to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state legislators in hopes they will make higher teacher salaries a goal for the upcoming legislative session.

The resolution doesn’t suggest a specific amount but notes pay for teachers is among the lowest in the U.S. The board is expected to consider it at a future meeting.

According to the WVEA, the average salary for teachers in West Virginia is $45,453, while the national average is $55,453.

Turner said West Virginia teachers’ salaries rank 48th in the nation, dropping 10 spots since 2003 and 18 since 1993.

He said the trend encourages new teachers to seek work in neighboring states, where the pay is higher.

According to the WVEA, the average salary for teachers is $57,140 in Ohio and $62,569 in Pennsylvania.

Turner said pay for teachers also has failed to keep up with the average salaries for school board office staff and school administrators, which has risen in the last 10 years.

He said teachers’ salaries have risen 18 percent while principal’s salaries have increased 24 percent, assistant superintendents’ pay has risen 30 percent and superintendents’ pay has increased 43 percent.

Turner said he’s not asking the school board itself for more money. But Board President Jim Piccirillo said Brooke County has a number of teachers who aren’t funded by the state and the board must pay them salaries in accordance to the state’s pay scale.

A majority of voters recently approved the five-year operating levy that allows the board to pay that staff among other costs.

Board member Chad Haught said he’d heard West Virginia teachers receive better benefits than others and would like to know if that’s true. He asked whether the cost of living in the various states has been considered. But he acknowledged he believes West Virginia teachers’ salaries are comparatively low.

In other business, the board:

Heard from Jason Rine, who introduced himself as the new Brooke County West Virginia University Extension agent who will be overseeing the county’s 4-H program as well as the Energy Express summer reading program.

Accepted the resignations of Cheryl Kelly, a third-grade teacher at Colliers Primary School who is retiring on Feb. 1; and two Wellsburg Middle School teachers who are retiring after this school year – Art Baldauf, who teaches physical education, and Pam Dudley, who teaches special education.

Also accepted Baldauf’s resignation as seventh-grade volleyball coach at the school and the hiring of Brooke Stingle, Nanci Walker, Patricia Williams and Kelsey Bird as substitute aides and Patricia Wagner as a substitute bus driver.