Teachers skeptical of state budget deal

Posted July 29, 2014
Updated July 30, 2014

— Legislative leaders touted Tuesday’s budget deal as “historic” while the state’s largest teacher organization described it as a plan that “disrespects” teachers and public school employees.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger called it "the largest teacher pay increase in state history” during a media briefing.

Teachers will receive a pay raise amounting to 7 percent on average this year under the budget deal, which also boosts early career teacher pay to a minimum of $35,000 per year by the 2015-16 school year.

The budget compromise resulted from weeks of negotiations between the House and the Senate, which differed on funding for teacher raises and teacher assistants. Senate leaders originally wanted an 11 percent pay raise for teachers, cutting funding for Medicaid and teacher assistants to pay for it. The House and governor wanted a 6 percent raise for teachers and no loss of teacher assistants or Medicaid eligibility.

Non-certified school employees, including teacher assistants, will receive a $500 pay raise under the plan. Rank-and-file state employees will receive a $1,000 pay raise and five bonus vacation days, lawmakers said.

While the budget plan, which still requires approval from the full House and Senate, does not cut any teacher assistant positions, $65 million has been moved from the teacher assistant line item to pay for teachers.

Another $24 million in teacher assistant funding was made "non-recurring," meaning the funds will expire next year without legislative approval. Those funds will cover items other than teacher assistants.

"The budget will also protect teacher assistant positions, protect classroom funding and continue to give superintendents broad flexibility to tailor classroom spending to needs," Berger said.

But teachers at the top of the pay scale – those with the most experience – will receive a raise much smaller than 7 percent, said Mark Jewell, vice president of the North Carolina Association of Educators. He described the plan as a “down payment on the state’s IOU to public education.”

“I think the devil is in the details,” Jewell said. “We have strong concerns on this right now.”

Raises for bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other school support employees would be only half of those of other state employees, said Jewell, who added that lottery money and some one-time funding will be used to pay for the budget.

“We do feel like there is going to be job losses to fund this,” he said.

House Speaker Thom Tillis said the state has millions in savings and reserves to ensure the budget is covered.

“The promise we are making in the budget can continue to be fulfilled,” Tillis said.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 5, 2014

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    Republicans show us that they don't value education. ...critical thinking. I've had numerous discussions with people here about this...many don't want the gov't in the education business and don't care if people get educated...others think that critical thinking is some sort of liberal plot...and on and on.

    So, the latest thing that Republicans have done is to New Government to take tax payer money and give it to private schools...schools who restrict who can attend...schools that can teach nonsensical/religious directives. (e.g. the earth is 6000 years old, life begins at blastocyst/zygote level but only for humans, poor people have themselves to blame)

  • Raleigh32 Aug 1, 2014

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    I tend to vote Republican but do have a hard time with this when it comes to education. I received significant raises in 2007 under our Democratic governor. Things were trending in a positive direction before the pay freezes around 2008.

  • MrMourning Jul 31, 2014

    Here is an idea.. Just call them babysitters, and pay them a such (per kid per hour). Consider anything they learn as gravy.

  • MrMourning Jul 31, 2014

    Pay cut for the most experience politician. That would actually make sense, after all they have done the most damage....Oligarchs

  • numchuck Jul 30, 2014

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    I have an honest question and I'm looking for honest feedback because the blinding loyalty of most teachers to the Democratic party truly confuses me. Please remind me exactly what Democrats have done for teachers? What % raise did you get under the last two democratic governors? From 1999 to 2010 Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House- where were all the raises. At least something is being done now... tenure is being kept (the only profession that receives) no cut to TAs... medicad wasn't cut. The republicans could have given you $50,000.00 raises and I feel like you would have still found something to complain about... because it was accomplished by Republicans. You complain about tax cuts... but the more business you attract, the more people have jobs and the more tax money you receive.

  • Doug Pawlak Jul 30, 2014
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    You should perhaps also worry about posters who get their facts wrong. Like your claim that teachers work "half a year (180 days) " .
    They work ten months per year and are unpaid for two months. The "180 days" are days with students. There are many additional workdays. Then you claim that tax cuts don't cost the state money. What? Only a true ideologue buys that twisted logic. I get it, you don't want to pay taxes but want all the benefits of an educated society with somebody else paying for it.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 30, 2014

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    Well, we both value education...while the Republicans keep *saying* that they do, but keep *showing* us that they don't.

    Would *you* vote for politicians who continually dismiss your value and cut your pay? So, honestly, which side is more sympathetic to them?

    Do you think that Republicans have any control over that?...like maybe stopping their attack on teachers and public education, in general?

  • Doug Pawlak Jul 30, 2014
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    You miss the point. The original poster claims that teachers should not worry about pay but should work out of compassion. All state workers need to be paid better and all pay should be compared in a apples to apples format.

  • urtwopid Jul 30, 2014

    State Employees Deserve a raise, ALL of them. AND they should fund it by canning the State Employees that do NOTHING all day. We need a raise, and the dead weight can pay for it. You get rid of one dead-weigh state employee at $35k a year, 45 State employees can get a raise (Including benefits.)

  • Jenny Debane Jul 30, 2014
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    A thousand times, this. And then this again. Everyone - soak in this comment. Every single illegal in our system costs every teacher a salary increase. Direct your anger to the appropriate source. Money isn't just created out of thin air. What should we do, raise taxed to 100%? Tax cuts don't "cost" the state money - it wasn't the state's money to start with! The fact that people think so backwards that all money belongs to the government and then they tell us what we can keep is so ridiculously messed up.