The Wyoming County Board of Education expressed support for the West Virginia Education Association’s (WVEA) Competitive Pay Salary Campaign at a meeting last Thursday.
“We’re just not getting young people going into teaching,” noted Wyoming County Superintendent of Schools Frank “Bucky” Blackwell.
“We have two student teachers this semester and four next semester,” he said. “Six people is nowhere near enough to cover the people we need.”
Out of 1,500 teachers who graduated from state colleges last year, Blackwell indicated, only 400 went to work in West Virginia.
“They’re going across the state line to take jobs that pay more money,” he said. “The starting salary in West Virginia is $30,625. A lot of them look at that and go into another field. Just about anything else will pay more in a year’s time.
“We’ve got to improve the salary to get more people to get into education,” he continued.
West Virginia ranked No. 30 in teacher pay in 1992-93 but has dropped to No. 48 since then.
“Our board approved (the resolution),” Blackwell said. “They support the effort to create over a period of time—not all at once—a competitive pay salary for teachers.”
Blackwell says a “lot of work is going on to find a source for revenue.”
Teachers in neighboring Maryland earn $19,000 a year more on average, he noted.
“If we want to continue to have good schools and good people in our classrooms, we’ve got to pay more and pay them like a professional,” he said.
Over 20 counties have voted in favor of the competitive pay campaign, Blackwell observed. Last week’s meeting was held at Baileysville Elementary and Middle School.
Several members of the school LSIC provided brief remarks, Blackwel reported.
“They expressed how pleased they are with their school and the progress that’s been made,” he said.
The school is currently working on updating playground equipment.
“It was a very positive meeting,” Blackwell commented.