Durham, N.C. — Hundreds of teachers will be eligible to receive $10,000 bonuses next spring by mentoring colleagues, Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday, shortly before asking teachers to lobby the state Senate to approve a House budget that would provide teachers statewide with raises.
North Carolina is shifting $6 million in federal Race to the Top funds to provide bonuses to about 450 teachers statewide who create professional development resources, lesson plans and classroom materials to help other teachers. The group makes up the new Governor's Teachers Network.
"This is a team effort because, when you work as a team, you get better results," McCrory said at a Durham luncheon.
More than 1,000 teachers applied to participate in the Governor's Teachers Network, and they were chosen through a competitive process that looked at the grades and subject areas they teach, the location of their school districts and the depth and quality of their experience.
McCrory noted that mentorship is one aspect of his proposed Career Pathways for Teachers program, which he rolled out in May. Under the program, teachers would be rewarded for both experience and student performance, and school districts would have the flexibility to provide higher pay to get teachers into low-income and rural schools and to recruit hard-to-find science and math teachers.
The governor then spoke about the so-called "mini budget" that the House approved last week. The spending plan would provide raises to teachers and state workers but doesn't address other elements of the state budget, which would then operate under the second year of the two-year budget adopted last summer.
The raises don't come at the expense of thousands of teaching assistant positions, McCrory said. The Senate's proposed budget would give bigger raises to teachers but would pay for it by eliminating funding for more than 7,000 classroom assistants.
The Senate refused to even debate the mini-budget on Monday, using a parliamentary maneuver to send it back to the House for reconsideration.
McCrory said Tuesday morning that the mini-budget deserves a Senate vote, and he urged teachers to lobby senators to take up the proposal.
"We need you to get them to vote on it," he said. Every senator should be "allowed to vote on an education plan which is not only going to make a difference today but is going to make a difference for generations to come, and it's going to encourage more young college graduates to get into the teaching profession."