by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
After nine days on the picket line, teachers in West Virginia are headed back to the classroom. Gov. James Justice signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that gives teachers the pay increase they demanded.
Chad Alderman at the Teacher Pensions Blog points out that in West Virginia and elsewhere the “growing retirement costs are eating into teacher salaries.” He continues,
In fact, while West Virginia ranks in the bottom five states in teacher salaries, it ranks in the top five in terms of retirement costs (most of that money is going toward paying down unfunded liabilities, but it’s a real expense incurred by the state and its school districts). Overall, West Virginia climbs to 32nd in terms of salary plus retirement costs. That’s a very different story than the one being told by the media.
The N.C. General Assembly and state Treasurer Dale Folwell are working to make sure that retirement costs are contained, but it will be a long and difficult process that may require lawmakers to make unpopular choices.