RALEIGH (WTVD) --Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis held a joint news conference Tuesday to announce a budget deal that includes an average seven percent pay raise for North Carolina teachers.
The $21.25 billion deal would mean teachers would average a raise of about $3,500.
Berger and Tillis said it's the largest teacher pay raise in state history and would move North Carolina from 46th to 32nd nationally in teacher pay rankings.
Berger said the pay raise for teachers will make North Carolina more competitive nationally, "and encourage the best and brightest of our teachers to make long-term commitments to the state and to our students."
The plan would also not cut any teacher assistant positions, which is something that had been threatened in earlier budget plans.
The budget will also boost early-career teacher pay by 14-percent over the next two years to $35,000.
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate say they have been shut out of the budget process. They have yet to see the detailed package so Tuesday they were still asking where the money would come from to pay for it.
"Is it sustainable," asked Rep. Larry Hall (D), Democratic Leader N.C. House. "Do we have cuts that weren't enumerated? And they were certainly short on details on where the cuts were to pay for it."
The budget proposal maintains Medicaid eligibility, but will reduce provider rates by one percent.
"One percent can be quite a bit of money in addition to cuts they've already taken," said Floyd B. McKissick (D), Deputy Dir. N.C. Senate. "So, you know, we really need to see what the details are to see who will be hurt. And how it's going to be paid for."
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