BERKELEY COUNTY, WV - Dozens of teachers and service personnel attended Monday night's Board of Education meeting in support of a petition asking school board officials to sign a resolution in support of a teachers' salary increase.
The request is part of a state-wide effort for more competitive pay, and it will be presented to the legislature this year.
On average teachers in West virginia earn about $45,000, while teachers in Maryland and Pennsylvania earn more than $60,000, according to the West Virginia Education Association.
The association also says that West Virginia ranks 48th in the nation for teachers' pay.
The Berkeley County Education Association (BCEA) President, Wendy Bird, has been teaching 4th graders for the past 23 years, and says she hasn't seen a pay increase in ten years.
"It's been real rough," says Bird. "I have two jobs actually. I work at Winchester Medical Center. I've been down there for 23 years, so I've worked two jobs for a really long time just to make ends meet."
Bird says they are asking for a salary increase over the next three years. The school board says they are in full support of a salary increase, but it'll ultimately depend on state funds.
"The economic state of West Virginia is not what it is with our surrounding states as compared to Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and we'd like to get those teacher salaries up as much as we possibly can but the economy of the state will have to dictate that," says Dr. William Queen, School Board President.
The WVEA says this decision will have a great effect on West Virginia's future, as the state continues to lose skilled professionals to higher paying states.