US - West Virginia governor Joe Manchin has set aside over US$700m for the ailing Teachers Retirement System, which currently has unfunded liabilities of more than $5bn.
As part of his 2007 budget, Manchin dedicated $384.5m on top of the originally scheduled debt payment of $333.9m, a move expected to save state taxpayers approximately $651m in interest payments during the next 29 years.
“In a responsible manner we have managed to significantly pay down our debts while also giving much needed multi-year increases to our teachers for the first time in 15 years,” said Manchin.
“While we are continuing to work with the legislature on taking these efforts further in the future, especially in the area of teacher recruitment, we believe that our actions this year have been a major step in the right direction.”
The average state employee/teacher PEIA premium is set increase $13 a month, while the teacher pay raise amounts to $1350 this year with additional increment increases over the next three years based upon years of experience.
Manchin said those increment increases were substantially important for teachers because, every teacher with at least 14 years of experience would now receive at least a $570 experience increment every year.
“This is West Virginia’s first comprehensive teacher pay package in more than 15 years and is focused on our teachers with experience and education whose knowledge we need to make our education system the best it can possibly be for our children so that they can be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century,” he said.
By Damian Clarkson
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