Now that the highly questionable education bill is dead, a look at the situation in hindsight would seem to confirm what I have heard a number of people say throughout the process of fighting over the bill:
The complex mess of proposed legislation was crafted in retaliation for the outcome of last year's teacher strike.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
Now that the highly questionable education bill is dead, a look at the situation in hindsight would seem to confirm what I have heard a number of people say throughout the process of fighting over the bill:
The complex mess of proposed legislation was crafted in retaliation for the outcome of last year’s teacher strike.
The relationship between the state’s educators and legislators has been contentious at best, and the divide between the two factions has definitely widened over the past couple of years.
That perception was underscored in my mind this week when Mineral County Board of Education vice president Mary Jane Baniak spoke out about the lack of communication between the legislators and either the board members or the county’s educators.
Ms. Baniak felt the delegates and senators who represent Mineral County should have reached out to superintendent Shawn Dilly, members of the board, or some of the county’s educators to see why they were speaking out against the bill.
In all fairness, those folks could also have reached out to their representatives to voice their opinions, although the board did pass a resolution asking the legislators to kill the bill and instead consider the pay raise and PEAI insurance fix as proposed earlier by Gov. Justice.
And, of course, the teachers have made their feelings known in numerous ways - not the least of which was the last-resort action of striking.
I also must say Del. Gary Howell has told me he “had a meeting set up” Saturday with Ms. Baniak, but she did not show up.
No matter who didn’t reach out to whom, however, the West Virginia Legislature has far too long welded way too much power over the state’s education system and has done so without the input of the very people who keep that system running on the county level.
Was the omnibus education bill a retaliatory move?
After reading the story on today’s front page which included Sen. Craig Blair’s comments that he would not vote for a pay raise, it would certainly seem so.
I can’t speak for any other county in West Virginia, but I can tell you with certainty that Mineral County has been blessed with many talented and dedicated teachers who truly care about their students’ success.
And while it has been quoted so many times in the past few weeks that it’s almost become a cliche, I agree wholeheartedly that any teacher who fights against a bill that includes a pay raise HAS to be considering their students’ welfare first.
I hope the current bill offering a pay raise to teachers, service personnel and state police is approved. There are also many other education-related bills currently in various stages of being considered that need to be carefully looked at and discussed with the welfare of students in mind.
Retaliatory actions have no place in state government or education.