CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia teachers will remain on strike for a second day despite a move by the House of Delegates to effectively kill an education bill that had sent them to the picket lines.
The leaders of three unions representing teachers and school service personnel made the announcement Tuesday night that the walkout will continue Wednesday.
Earlier, the GOP-led House voted 53-45 to indefinitely table the bill that the unions oppose. That means the bill won't go to the next step: a committee of Senate and House members who would try to come up with a compromise.
Without being specific, West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said the unions believe there's still a small chance there could be further developments with the legislation.
Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, said that based on a conference call with union members, "the trust is not there."
American Federation of Teachers' West Virginia chapter President Fred Albert said the unions' trust in the House has been somewhat restored, but "we cannot trust the leadership in the Senate," which has tried to rush the bill to passage. "We are staying out one more day to make sure that this is a dead bill tomorrow," Albert said.
Before the House vote, teachers and school support workers lined streets outside schools with picket signs and packed the State Capitol during the walkout over the bill, which they view as lacking their input and as retaliation for last year's nine-day strike.
The 2018 walkout launched the national movement that included strikes in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington state, and more recently, Los Angeles and Denver. Teachers in Oakland, Calif., have authorized a strike starting Thursday.
Nearly all of West Virginia's 55 counties canceled public school classes Tuesday. Teachers unions oppose the complex legislation that, among other things, would create the state's first charter schools and allow education savings accounts for parents to pay for private school.
"Our students are first and are not for sale," Poca High School English teacher Meghan Stevens said.
"We believe in the power of public education."