West Virginia teachers end strike after opposed charter school bill was killed

Public school teachers in West Virginia returned to school Thursday after an education bill they opposed was effectively killed in the state House.

Teachers in 54 of the state’s 55 counties walked out Tuesday over SB 451, which would have used public funding to introduce charter schools to the state and provide private school tuition to some households.

The state House on Tuesday ultimately decided not to take up the bill, effectively killing it for the time being. Teachers were on strike for one more day to ensure that the bill would not be reconsidered in the 24-period after being killed, West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee told CNN.

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Lee said at a press conference that the strike was a “united effort,” according to the Associated Press.

 “The winners in this, once again, are the children of West Virginia [who] are assured of a great public education for all of them, not just a select few,” Lee said.

The teachers’ unions in the state opposed the bill because it would have used public dollars to create charter schools, competitors to public schools, and would have established education savings accounts. Those accounts would have offered households making less than $150,000 a year the option to apply for help with private school tuition and other education costs.

It remains possible that lawmakers could pass portions of the bill before the end of the legislative session next month, according to the AP.

The strike was the second in the state in less than a year. Last year, West Virginia teachers walked out for nine days, resulting in a 5 percent pay raise for educators.