Educators wanted a raise, got confusion
The state budget cobbled together by the North Carolina House and Senate was released on July 30 and, at press time, was expected to be passed and sent to the governor by Aug. 2. The governor can veto it but both chambers have super majorities that can override a veto.
While there has been little time for the public to digest the document, educators are zeroing in on issues of concern.
Legislators have said that the raises that teachers have been requesting are in the proposed budget but many are taking exception to that claim. An average of 7 percent increase in pay is in the budget but llongevity pay is being counted in that amount.
Teaching assistants which had been eliminated in an earlier version of the budget are back in – sort of.
The budget depends on lottery revenues paying for a share of the teacher assistants salaries and a portion of the positions will be funded with non-recurring funds which means that they will not necessarily be included in the next budget.
Sixty-five million dollars that was supposed to pay for the assistants has been moved back into funding for teaching positions. It will be up to superintendents to decide whether to pay for more teachers or teaching assistants. The second year of the two year budget passed last year designated $477 million for teaching assistants but the latest amount is $368 million.
Most other state employees will receive a $1,000 raise but teaching assistants, school custodians, cafeteria workers and other non-certified and central office staff will receive $500 per this budget.
The governor had requested a $24 million increase in textbook funding to offset the drastic cuts in the past couple of years. Instead, the budget includes a $1 million increase.
The budget provides that teachers with advanced degrees and those who have taken one course in a master’s program before Aug. 1, 2013 will receive the supplemental salary increase that has been given in the past.
The Department of Public Instruction’s budget is being cut by 10 percent. The Senate’s original proposed budget had a 30 percent cut; the governor requested 1 percent.