WCEA wins an additional $2,000 stipend and increased substitute pay

Elliott Kendle

For years, WCEA has been pushing efforts to increase pay for non-administrative employees, increase substitute pay to attract quality substitutes, and increase respect to keep quality employees. WCEA President Elliott Kendle believes these are key steps to improving Wetzel County education for both the employees and the students.

It’s been a year in the works, but WCEA has been successful by increasing the pay of educators in Wetzel County, which includes an additional $2,000 annual stipend for employees to be given in May. This is in addition to a current stipend of $2,000 that is given in December. WCEA started working on this last year when Kendle spoke at the BOE meeting on February 28, 2023. He credits the key to the successful passing by continuing conversations with BOE members and administration. While being president, he and WCEA has worked hard to develop relationships with the board and central office. “Those relationships are so important to make a difference,” he said.

Although others are trying to claim credit for the increase too, Kendle laughs it off and humbly says, “I don’t need an ego boost. I get all the thanks I need when people come up to me and say ‘thank you. This will help.’” WCEA has also been responsible for increasing the substitute pay recently in the county. Before, subs were paid 80% of the state pay minimum and the full state minimum after 30 consecutive days of teaching. Now, it is 80% of Wetzel’s pay (with the county supplement included). Additionally, after 20 consecutive days, they get a full day pay of a Wetzel County employee. Since the pay rate change, the substitute shortage has decreased by 5% in Wetzel County. The central office reported they’ve hired 8 more substitute teachers since the policy change and expect more.

Kendle believes the pay raise will also help attract quality substitutes. “It will be a huge relief to teachers to know when they need to take a day off, they are leaving their students with a quality substitute.” WCEA is still fighting to increase respect for educators but paying them well, Kendle believes, is the first step and says he will continue working hard for the members in Wetzel County. “My promise to you is that we aren’t done yet,” Kendle says.