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West Virginia Passes a Bill to Raise Pay for Teachers and Other State Employees

West Virginia has moved toward a firmer end to the teachers' strike that has shuttered schools statewide for nearly two weeks, the New York Times reports.

The State House and Senate agreed on a bill to raise pay by 5 percent for all state employees, including teachers and school service workers, Governor Jim Justice announced. That commitment should be enough to get teachers back into classrooms, said the West Virginia Education Association president, according to the Times. Justice's promise of pay raises last week—which would have allotted only 3 percent for non-teacher state employees—initially seemed to end the strike, but teachers returned to picketing over concerns the Senate would not follow through.

It remains unclear how the pay change will cover the steep rise of health-care costs—one of teachers' primary concerns. State Senator Craig Blair said that cuts would be made to Medicaid in order to pay for the proposed pay raises, the Times reports. Justice has promised to address health care through a task force set to meet March 13th.