Amid striking teachers, Justice again says he would veto Senate’s education bill

CHARLESTON — As teachers cheered behind him, Gov. Jim Justice said he would veto an omnibus education bill that has prompted a strike if it reaches his desk.

The governor stopped short of saying educators have a right to strike. But when asked for his view, he did say they have a right to express their opinion.

Justice promised a teacher pay raise back in October and said today that bill should have gone through on its own. Instead, it was bundled with other provisions.

“We should have moved this thing through. Now we’ve got a situation where kids are out of school, parents are disrupted. Educators are unhappy. And we go back to the thing I said before, Why?” Justice said.

He later commented, “You talk about blowing our own leg off.”

Justice’s comments came this morning on MetroNews’ “Talkline.” Teachers gathered behind him as he talked.

The three educators unions called a strike on Monday night as the Senate started passage of an omnibus education bill open to seven charter schools and 1,000 education savings accounts, which provide funding for students leaving public schools for private education.

All school systems in West Virginia except one county were closed today.