BOE supports pay raise resolution

ELKINS-The Randolph County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to support a resolution seeking better pay for all school employees.

Matthew McCarty, from the West Virginia Education Association told the Randolph BOE Monday the resolution is pushing for raises for the employees by the next school year.

Currently the average salary for teachers in West Virginia is $45,453, according to WVEA statistics, which is nearly $20,000 less than neighboring states like Maryland, and Pennsylvania. More than 1,500 students graduated from colleges in West Virginia into the education field last year and only 400 of them were employed in schools in the Mountain State, McCarty said.

“The average salary for teachers in West Virginia dropped from 30th (out of the 50 states) in 1993 to 48th in 2013,” said McCarty. “This resolution is to ensure a competitive salary for educators.”

Board member Ed Tyre said he supported the resolution whole-heartedly and urged the other board members to vote in favor of it.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

-Robbie Morris, executive director of the Randolph County Development Authority, presented plaques to Elkins Middle School and Third Ward Elementary School that were donated by the Wood Technology Center in Elkins to commemorate each facility’s School Building Authority renovation.

– Brad Smith, director of finance for Randolph County Schools, gave the BOE an update on the Affordable Care Act and how it relates to the school system. Smith said that schools will be using a “safe harbor” method, which helps calculate time worked for employees, to determine insurance eligibility.

“For example, if a substitute is called in for a day, we will put them down for eight hours worked,” said Smith. “Those that average 30 hours will qualify for insurance.”

Smith said that under this system six or seven substitutes will qualify for health care benefits through the BOE.

“The biggest thing for us is to make sure that we comply (with the federal regulations),” Smith said. “Following the regulations will prevent us from facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.”

Tyler Louk, a student from Tygarts Valley High School, gave a presentation on his school’s new facilities and the renovations made recently.

Louk said that an alumnus donated $20,000, which was used to install a new floor for the school’s gymnasium, and provide groundswork and beautification projects around the campus.

Louk also talked about how the school recently converted its library to a full-fledged media center, replacing all of the school’s books with a database called E-books, which allows students to go online and have access to books digitally.

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