'They're shortchanging our students:' Educators on GOP budget veto override

Elaina Athans Image
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
'They're shortchanging our students:' Educators on GOP budget veto override
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'They're shortchanging our students:' Educators on GOP budget veto override

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- After North Carolina General Assembly Republicans decided to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the state budget, educators vowed to focus their energy on the November ballot.

"Make sure that we elect public education officials that will invest in public school students," said North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell.

The Republicans nearly $24 billion state budget now set to become law on July 1st. touts raises for teachers, state employees and correctional officers.

The House vote comes less than a month after tens of thousands of educators dressed in red and brought their demands for more funding to Jones Street.

"They're short changing our students," said Jewell, who believes the raise approved will hinder new talent. "You have a beginning teacher salary schedule now that starts at $35,000 and ends at a little over at $51,000. That's not going to be enough to recruit and retain teachers into North Carolina."

Republicans are calling Governor Roy Cooper's proposal for a roughly eight percent raise 'ambitious' and say it would have lead to a tax increase.

"Really? Is that really what y'all want to vote for? You want to raise taxes $861 million dollars," said Wake County Representative Nelson Dollar on the floor. "Believe me, that is going to effect real working people in this state."

"Today's veto override delivering pay raises, disaster relief, and increased education investments is great news for the people of North Carolina who are fortunate to avoid the $470 million budget shortfall and tax hikes proposed by the governor," said House Speaker Tim Moore.

Moore notes that the 2018 state budget provides a fifth consecutive teacher pay raise, close to $700 million additional dollars in public education, and an average 6.5 percent pay raise for teachers and a 6.9 percent increase to the principal salary schedule.

The NCAE argues that's not close enough to the national average.

"They have had a track record, this General Assembly, of underfunding public education. This is barely keeping up. This is six tenths of a increase when we have thousands of more students in North Carolina," said Jewell.