With one day to go before the end of the regular legislative session, lawmakers have passed a $4.6 billion general revenue budget.
The Senate voted to concur on a budget plan that was passed the prior day by the House of Delegates. The bill passed 19 to 14 with one senator, Donna Boley, absent.
The Republican majority in the Senate has maintained it already voted for a teacher pay raise, in the form of an omnibus education bill that included other provisions like charter schools and education savings accounts, which set aside taxpayer dollars for students moving from public education to private schooling.
Governor Justice has been saying for months the teacher pay raise should be considered by itself. The House of Delegates permanently tabled a bill that included the array of education policies. Delegates then voted in favor of the standalone pay raise bill.
The state budget establishes a $67 million line item for educators’ pay raises but doesn’t yet allocate the money.
The allocation would come after a special session called by Gov. Jim Justice to focus on a broad range of education issues. That could be resolved later this summer.