State News

Senate budget gives more to teachers, less to fuel buses

Posted June 17, 2008

— The North Carolina Senate could end up giving Gov. Mike Easley a way to meet his goal of raising teacher salaries above the national average before he leaves office.

A provision included Tuesday in the chamber's revised spending proposal would allow the governor to give pay raises above the average of 3 percent included in the plan. Easley wants to give teachers a raise of nearly 7 percent.

But that would only happen under the Senate plan if economic conditions improve by the end of October, leading the state to bring in more money than officials currently expect.

Still, state education officials were disappointed the Senate spending plan allots $2.20 a gallon for diesel fuel to power school buses.

The state buys diesel in bulk but is still paying about $4 a gallon for fuel. The proposed budget passed by the state House would give the state Department of Public Instruction $3.71 a gallon for diesel.

"It also impacts the locals, which means that they will then have to divert money from other programs that are very important to helping our kids perform better in school," said Howard Lee, chairman of the State Board of Education.

Local school districts have to make up the difference in the budget allocation and the actual price for diesel fuel.

Last year, for example, lawmakers gave DPI $1.83 a gallon for diesel fuel, which meant Wake County received $5 million for its school buses. Even after state lawmakers approved an emergency appropriation in January to help districts cope with rising diesel prices, the Wake County school system had to pay an extra $2 million for fuel, said Don Haydon, the district's chief facilities and operations officer.

"The amount that's not covered by the state is absorbed by the local budget," Haydon said.

State education officials also want the Senate to include more money for teacher bonuses, saying it could cost $107 million to fund bonuses next school year. The Senate proposal puts $71 million in the budget for bonuses.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee is hearing the $21.4 billion budget bill Tuesday. The first of two required floor votes are expected Wednesday.

Senate leaders said Tuesday that the recommendations likely would change in the coming days as a final proposal is hammered out.

"We're dealing with probably the greatest unknown in the budget we have – fuel. So, we've done as well as we thought we could in our monies to move around and do other programs that maybe weren't funded or funded enough, in our opinion," said Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash.


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  • tchr313 Jun 18, 2008

    My favorite quote is
    "Teachers make all professions possible."

    Yes, all state employees deserve a raise. However, Easley is focusing on teachers because there is so much turnover. He wants to make teacher salaries in NC attractive in order to retain teachers.

    Personally, I work very hard as a teacher. My husband complains that I spend so much time in the evenings and weekends on my work, but it is essential. Yes, I am allowed to leave school at 3:50 every day, but that doesn't mean I'm done working. I either stay late at school or bring work home.

    Teachers are not respected and deserve every pay raise they get!

  • tanahusky Jun 18, 2008

    Thank you, teacher101. Well said!

  • mmafighterwife Jun 18, 2008

    You are so right teacher101, I wrote a comment yesterday about my husband who is a teacher and not having 3 months off, not hardly someone said add two weeks for Christmas but sorry still does not add up when he only got 9 days this year and during the time he is a wrestling coach and they have most Saturday's during wrestling season booked for tournaments, so he actually works 6 days a week and the supplement will not cover our gas bill, so for those who don't think a raise is right for teachers, go sit a day in the classroom where it's like a daycare better yet a zoo. Oh and by the time the goverment taxes half of his bonus and whatever else he gets he brings home hardly what I call a decent paycheck. I am all for the raise and I am for a raise for DOC workers as well, my brother is a DOC officer and he does not have a pie job either. Hat's off to all state employee's and NO I'm not a state employee but I care about my family living.

  • ncguy Jun 18, 2008

    How can you give an accross the board raise to teachers? I am all for teachers getting a raise but I don't understand how they all can? Isn't about performance and tenure? In the private sector those who deserve a raise get one. Not everybody? Why would employees try to do their best if they know they will get a raise regardless?

    Not smart-
    No comment about the fuel costs...

  • teacher101 Jun 18, 2008

    All I can say is, please come into our classrooms with 25-30 students, sometimes more, who have bad attitudes, ready to fight,no homework or supplies daily,bad manners and no parental support. Oh yeah and don't forget, make sure you use your paycheck for all the pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, folders, highlighters, supplemental materials you need in order for you and the students to eb prepared each day. Not to mention the money for subscriptions to websites online so you have access to items to use in your classroom to help your students to do the very best on the test. Yes, we are teaching to the test, sorry as that is to say, but you go anywhere and that is the truth because nothing else is an option. Until you have walk in our shoes completely and know what being a teacher is really about and not what you fantasize it is, then you have no right to compare what we do with your job. You want to complain about you not getting a raise, fine, but don't bring us into it.

  • teacher101 Jun 18, 2008

    Wow, after reading many of these comments, I just couldn't contain myself any longer. I'd still like to know where people get off by saying teachers get three months off? We don't get out until the 2nd week in June and go back the 2nd week in August. If I calculate that correctly, there are no three months there. Also, between workshops and classes that we take to better ourselves for our students, we end up not really getting that time either. Most of us have to take on 2-3 jobs, not only during the summer, but during the year as well. We certainly don't get all the holidays off that the state does. How about Columbus and President's day - where are we, in school. Oh yeah and in some counties, Memorial day too. We don't get to take our vacation when we choose too and it's limited to 1 week in Dec and April. I'm sorry state employees, but didn't you have to be educated a little bit in order to have the job you do now? Wonder how you got that education?

  • kitelover110 Jun 18, 2008

    Now maybe the counties will take a hard look at bussing studnets all over the county and just take them to the schools closest to their homes wherever possible.

  • WRALblows Jun 18, 2008

    Here's how to get in touch with each member of the Wake County School Board to spew contempt for this outrageous racila integration busing policy:

  • WRALblows Jun 18, 2008

    The idea the "Socio Economic Diversity", also known as racial integration, is benefiting any child's education is a myth wrapped in a fantasy. It is the result of a vocal minority achieving their wishes while the complacent majority sits by and does little or nothing.

    The Wake County school board just unanimously voted Rosa Gill to their Chair again yesterday. This is a woman who was a teacher but then a former manager for the NCDOT. We all know how well the NCDOT is managed.

  • 1Moms_View Jun 18, 2008

    To continue previous post...

    Children with disabilities are expected to pass these tests and scores are compiled with the whole school test results. These students are expected to take the grade level test no matter what their functioning level. For example, a child with a 60 IQ that functions at a level where they are still learning addition and subtraction without regrouping is still expected to pass EOGs on their grade level. It matters not that they have no clue what the material is or can not read beyond a first grade level, they are still expected to read and comprehend passages for Reading on grade level. When we stop passing unrealistic expectations onto students that further increase their frustrations with learning, then we might see results. When we test students (not regular ed) on their functional level, THEN we will acurately be able to determine if they have mastered new skills during the year or made growth.