CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's bill to give pay raises to public school teachers and school service personnel advanced Thursday out of the Senate Education Committee -- with a change intended to give more bang for the buck to newer teachers.
The new version of the bill (SB391) would provide an across-the-board $1,000 raise -- instead of giving a 2 percent pay raise to teachers, as Tomblin proposed.
Senate Education Chairman Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, said the intent is to get a bigger increase to newer teachers.
"What I felt like we should be doing is getting salaries for starting teachers up first," Plymale said.
For teachers making less than $50,000 a year, the $1,000 across-the-board raise is larger than a 2 percent increase.
The amended bill also sets a legislative goal of increasing the starting salary for teachers to $43,000 by 2019.
Currently, a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no teaching experience can draw a salary as low as $26,917.
Plymale said the across-the-board raise would help narrow the salary gap between new and veteran teachers.