Governor Pat McCrory wants to create new teacher pay bill

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Flanked by lawmakers and educators, McCrory ran down the highlights of the plan he hopes will show teachers in the state they're valued and respected. (WTVD)

A planned pay raise for North Carolina teachers is still stuck in budget limbo, but Gov. Pat McCrory offered some encouraging news for teachers Wednesday.

McCrory proposed a plan to increase their pay, keep teaching assistants in the classroom and reward teachers for master's degrees.

The plan got support from a lot of key players but not all of them.

In the past few months, North Carolinians have seen three different ideas put out there when it comes to K-12 education -- the governor, the House, and the Senate each with their own plan.

Flanked by lawmakers and educators, McCrory ran down the highlights of the plan he hopes will show teachers in the state they are valued and respected.

"There will be no teacher in the state who, in a couple years, if they follow our plan, will make less than $35,000 a year," McCrory said.

The governor said teachers would get paid more for having master's degrees and schools would get more money for textbooks, which is a growing problem in the state. A new pilot program would also be set up which would award teachers based on experience, leadership, performance, and market value.

"All these things can happen without sacrificing 4,000 to 6,000 teachers' assistants, without sacrificing Medicaid," McCrory said. "We can also do this while meeting the educational needs to pre-k, colleges, and universities."

The governor said all the changes are based on what he's been hearing from teachers and educators around the state.

"This is not a Republican, or Democrat, or independent issue. This is not a legislative, executive branch issue. This is a North Carolina issue. We recognize that teachers need pay raises and our plan does just that. But it's responsible and it's affordable," McCrory said.

North Carolina Schools Superintendent June Atkinson generally supports the plan. She said it includes much of what teachers have been asking for but it doesn't go far enough.

"$35,000 is a starting point, but not where we need to be to retain our teachers in our classroom," Atkinson said.

If the plan transpires, it would be in a separate bill from the budget, which is raising all sorts of questions about how that would work and what it would mean. However, the big question is whether the Senate will go for it.

The Senate has their own plan for teacher pay, and Senate leadership wasn't at Wednesday's announcement.

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