CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s largest teachers union said Monday it wants the state to begin offering teacher salaries that are competitive with those in surrounding states, although it didn’t specify what a competitive salary would be or suggest how the state would pay for it.
The West Virginia Education Association launched its competitive salary campaign during a news conference at its Charleston headquarters, where it said low teacher salaries are driving talented educators out of state to look for better-paying jobs.
West Virginia’s average teacher salary is about $45,000, which ranks 48th in the nation. The national average is about $55,000.
WVEA President Dale Lee said the state needs to be competitive with its surrounding states, all of which have larger average salaries for their teachers and are within driving distance for many in West Virginia.
“I could certainly go into Loudoun County (Va.), I could also go into Maryland, which is about five miles from my home,” Leslie Boyd, a Jefferson County elementary school teacher, said by telephone. “So I definitely have other options. I just choose to stay in West Virginia because I love the state, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay.”
The average salaries in surrounding states range from nearly $49,000 in Virginia to about $64,000 in Pennsylvania.