The statewide teachers' strike in West Virginia entered its eighth school day Monday because the state legislature didn't approve a proposed agreement for higher pay and better benefits.
CNN reports that schools in all of the state's 55 counties were closed Monday, and union leaders say the teachers won't return to work until they get a 5 percent raise.
The pay raise remains in legislative limbo. At the state capitol in Charleston, the Senate and House passed bills offering differing amounts—5 percent in the House and 4 percent in the Senate. A conference committee must resolve the differences.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and union leaders agreed last week on a tentative settlement that would give teachers and service personnel a 5 percent pay raise.
However, the legislature must approve the promised raise. The bill quickly passed in the House, but Senate lawmakers expressed concern about how the state will pay for the raise.
On Saturday, after hours of and discussion by lawmakers, the state Senate passed a version of the bill that provides a 4 percent raise, and the House declined to approve the lower amount.
About 20,000 teachers walked off their jobs Feb. 22, keeping almost 277,000 students out of class. West Virginia public teachers receive an average salary of about $45,000, making them among the lowest paid educators in the United States.