Students need back in school

Not a minute should be wasted in getting children back to public schools in West Virginia. Already during the strike by union teachers and service personnel, seven precious, irreplaceable days of instructional time have been lost.

As we trust you know, the situation now is this: Gov. Jim Justice has declared that next year, the state will collect $58 million in revenue that had not been expected previously. The House of Delegates has approved a 5 percent pay raise for education employees next year, based on that $58 million.

Now the ball is in the state Senate’s court. Lawmakers there are doing the due diligence taxpayers have a right to expect of them. The Senate Finance Committee is going over budget figures, looking for evidence that $58 million will materialize. Enacting a pay raise based on imaginary revenue would not be prudent.

It is to be hoped that in their perusal of budget figures, senators also will identify waste and inefficiency that could allow them to cut spending to provide at least some of that $58 million.

But time is of the essence. It has been suggested the Finance Committee’s work may take all weekend. That could mean action on the Senate floor no sooner than Monday — and that could mean the strike will keep schools closed then.

Be thorough, senators.

But be fast, too.