As NPR's Amy Held noted Sunday, GOP lawmakers in the state Senate had defied their fellow party members in the governor's mansion and the House - who both agreed to a 5 percent raise - and insisted on 4 percent raise instead.
Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair says to pay for the raises, lawmakers will seek to cut state spending by $20 million, taking funds from general government services and Medicaid. I've been here since 2003 and we're continuing to fight over a limited pool of resources.
We talk to one of the 277,000 students affected by this strike about how they're dealing with the time away from school and how they want to see this conflict resolved. This put enormous pressure on the Republican legislature and Republican Gov. Jim Justice to do better by their teachers, now the third worst paid in the country, according to the National Education Association. Given that about 75% of teachers are women nationwide and in West Virginia, this lack of investment in the educational pipeline appears to have a stranglehold on the state's ability to influence its own future positively.
The announcement comes one week after Justice last announced a deal promising a 5 percent pay raise and the end of the teachers' strike.
According to Mitch Carmichael, the conservative president of West Virginia's state Senate, the deal will require cuts to be made in others parts of the state budget.
"It's time we invest in education and help our teachers and our kids go back to the classroom with pride in the great state of West Virginia", Justice said. The issues of raises and a PEIA fix had been brewing for a while, with some schools, including Wetzel and Brooke Counties, choosing to close their doors for the day on Friday, February 16.
"You have had a victory ... but the real winners of all of this are the students of West Virginia".
West Virginia teachers walked out of the classroom last week after months of negotiations over wages and benefits.
Though now limited to West Virginia, the strike has had repercussions outside the state as teachers in Oklahoma say they, too, have reached their breaking point and are considering walking off the job next month.
Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd speaks with Kevin Green, a teacher in Bradshaw, West Virginia.
"It shows them [students] how democracy is supposed to work, that you don't just bow down and lay down for anybody".
Missed school days will be made up, either at the end of the school year or by shortening spring break, depending on decisions by individual counties.
He said Tuesday that additional budget cuts by his staff will enable all state workers to also get 5 percent raises.
"By making these cuts we know with absolute certainty, that that funding will be there so there's a lot of hard cuts there", said State Sen. Blair said that if the governor's estimates of increased revenue estimates from Justice come to fruition, supplemental appropriations could take place.
After a 9-day teachers' strike, lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement.
Perhaps West Virginia teachers have started a movement that can stretch beyond the bounds of Appalachia - a grass-roots campaign with growing public support to save not just their profession, but the rural youth and communities their profession serves. On Thursday, the Oklahoma Education Association union is reportedly planning to announce a statewide-shutdown strategy.