In an ongoing worker standoff that has captured national attention, unions representing West Virginia teachers say they will stay on strike after the Republican-led state Senate voted down a pay raise educators had negotiated with GOP Gov. Jim Justice.
As the statewide strike carried through its eighth school day, the state's teachers are protesting salary levels that are among the lowest in the nation, as well as rising health-care costs. They are holding out for a 5 percent raise after four years without any increase.
West Virginia lags most of the nation when it comes to teacher pay. Despite average spending of more than $12,200 a year per pupil, just shy of the median level for all states, West Virginia public school teachers had a statewide median annual salary of about $45,700 for the 2016-17 school year, the fourth-lowest in the nation.