Gov. Justice releases statement following Senate pay raise decision

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Governor Jim Justice released a statement on Saturday evening after the West Virginia Senate voted in favor of a four percent pay raise for teachers, school service personnel and state police.

“While everyone is focused on the mistakes, my focus is solely on getting our children back to school," Justice said.

HB 4145 now moves to the West Virginia House for approval.

Governor Justice's original proposal was to raise pay by five percent.

He says it's time to "quite playing politics" and "get our kids back to school".

“This wrangling needs to stop right now,” he continued in the statement. “For crying out loud, we are putting our children at risk. I will not be a party to pitting our state employees against our teachers. I strongly feel we are blessed to have both.”

“Education should be our centerpiece and I have worked tirelessly to get our teachers the 5 percent pay raise. Additionally, I truly want goodness for all of our state employees and all West Virginians. If revenues continue to improve, I will move quickly working with the Legislature to bring the remaining state workers from 3 percent to the 5 percent raise level. But again, the bottom line is we have to be able to fill teacher classroom vacancies and we MUST get our kids back in the classroom.”