Bridgeport Teachers Take Part in Unity Walk-In to Advocate for Pay Raise, PEIA Funding

By Julie Perine on February 06, 2018 via

That was the theme Tuesday morning when teachers at Bridgeport High School and other Harrison County schools stood together prior to the start of the school day. Educators and other employees of the public school system lined the Johnson Avenue sidewalk in front of BHS, advocating for issues important to them and which are currently before West Virginia legislators and the PEIA Finance Board.
“Our demands are a pay raise better than one percent, the seniority issue and to fix PEIA,” said Charlene Keener, BHS teacher.
Some teachers held signs; others distributed materials explaining the issues.
“People were very supportive,” Keener said. “They told us to keep up the work and to stick with it.”
Materials were distributed through car windows as parents dropped students off for class. Traffic flowed as usual and many motorists honked horns in support of the educators.
Some students arrived early to show their support; taking their place in the line of educators.
“We want to support this movement because we can’t do anything without our teachers,” said BHS freshman, Annabel Goddard. “Teachers are the backbone of our school – all the staff really, the nurses and counselors.”
It’s important, Goddard said, to show that support in public. She hopes others will get behind the teachers, too.
Superintendent of Harrison County Schools Dr. Mark A. Manchin stopped by to show his support, walking through the line of teachers and shaking every hand.
“Our teachers and all of our employees are important to me,” he said. “Our teachers and personnel are entrusted with the very future of our children, working closely with parents, obviously. We are entrusted to provide quality education.”
It’s important to show support to these educators and to get priorities straight, Manchin said.
“PEIA certainly needs to be fully funded and our teachers do deserve a pay raise,” he said. “And this is not a new thing … This is an ongoing issue that must be addressed. Voters in Harrison County have been very good to our teachers, but at the state level, it is not being addressed. I think it’s time. I want everyone to know that the Board of Education is supportive of the issues we’re facing here today and I thought it was a neat thing what they did. I wanted to come by and show support.”
Prior to the ringing of the morning bell, the teachers walked into BHS together to start the school day. 
Similar action took place at Bridgeport Middle, Johnson Elementary and Simpson Elementary schools this morning, as well as schools across Harrison County. The event was in support of all state employees. Look for a gallery of photos to follow on Connect-Bridgeport. 

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