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Fundraiser for West Virginia teachers on strike tops $225,000

Grassroots organization launches fund

(CNN) - An online fundraiser for West Virginia teachers on strike had raised more than $225,000 from nearly 5,000 donors as of Monday afternoon.

The effort was started "by a few West Virginians" in order to support teachers and school personnel who "are taking on great personal cost to organize and support their families during the strike, and beyond," according to the website.

The fund is not sponsored by any teacher union, but is associated with RiseUp WV, a grassroots citizens organization based in Charleston, West Virginia. Organizers said they do not expect to raise enough money to cover lost salary or wages, but state the fund is another way people can support the state's teachers and staff.

"People are doing a great job of organizing pickets, visiting the capitol, providing alternative child care and food for kids, and constantly contacting their lawmakers. This Strike Support Fund is one other way you can help," organizers wrote.

About one-third of the money raised has already been approved and allocated to cover costs associated with the work stoppage. Donations are not tax deductible.

"We have now reviewed 174 requests and approved more than $71,000 -- to teachers and school service personnel to cover strike costs, child care, medical bills, lost pay for aides and substitutes, re-stocking food pantries, and other efforts to support children and families during the strike," an update on the page said.

Monday marks the eighth school day that public educators across the state have been striking. About 20,000 teachers walked out February 22, keeping almost 277,000 students out of class.

Union leaders say the teachers won't return to work until they get a 5% raise.

Rise Up West Virginia says on its website it wants Medicare for all and supports "a future where American democracy functions again because wealth and power are no longer concentrated in the hands of a few."


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