2018-03-07 / Nation/World

W.Va. teachers return to classroom

The Associated Press


It’s back to school in West Virginia. Teachers across this poor Appalachian mountain state are reopening classrooms today, jubilant after their governor signed a 5-percent pay raise ending their nine-day walkout.

Teachers expressed relief and exhilaration by breaking out into song Tuesday after legislators approved the pay raise bill, which Gov. Jim Justice swiftly signed.

Now the state’s 35,000 public school employees can get back to work — and 277,000 students back to their books.

“I’m so thrilled that it’s over, and that I get to go back to my special ed kids, back to our regular routine, and that we’re going to get some great work done the rest of the school year,” said Melinda Monks, a special education teacher at Bridgeview Elementary.

Expressions of delight poured from thousands of teachers who packed the Capitol after Tuesday’s settlement. They jumped up and down, chanted “We love our kids!” and sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The deal ended a paralyzing strike that shut students out of classrooms statewide, forced parents to scramble for childcare and cast a national spotlight on government dysfunction.

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