Teachers unions file lawsuit against Boone County Board of Education

By Matt Maccaro in News
MADISON, W.Va. — Teachers unions filed two lawsuits Tuesday against the Boone County Board of Education in the wake of pay and benefits cuts made to balance the district’s budget.

The American Federation of Teachers, along with the AFL-CIO and the West Virginia Education Association,asked a judge to declare the cuts unconstitutional in the complaints made in Boone County Circuit Court.

Boone County school board members voted July 18 to cut nearly 600 employees’ pay and benefits to avoid a takeover threatened by the WV Dept. of Education.

State law requires that nearly all public school employees obtain a “continuing contract” after being employed over three consecutive years, and that contract cannot be altered unless it’s agreed upon by the parties or terminated by the board.

A teacher must be given notice by March 1 of that school year, and service personnel have to be notified before April 1 if that contract is to be terminated, according to the complaints filed

Boone County board members rejected the proposed cuts twice, but the state board threatened to make them anyway to balance a budget that they claimed was $7 million short.

In June, state lawmakers and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin allocated the school system an additional $2.2 million to help the district meet payroll for the 2015-16 school year, which ended June 30.

The cuts amount to a $3,800 to $4,000 cut in supplemental pay for full-time employees. Dental and vision benefits were also eliminated.