Cooper’s education proposal gives all teachers a pay increase, while past budgets have left out the most experienced educators
RALEIGH — Even without raising taxes, Gov. Roy Cooper’s newly-released education proposal goes well beyond past budgets by giving a pay raise to ALL teachers in North Carolina. Previous teacher pay plans have included nothing for our most experienced educators, or raises that were so small — less than a percentage point in many cases — that they may as well have been nothing.
Gov. Cooper’s plan, on the other hand, would give every teacher at least a 3% pay increase this year, part of an average 5% increase overall. The governor’s budget includes another 5% average increase next year, part of a push to raise North Carolina’s average teacher salary to the national average over the next five years.
“While past budgets have merely paid lip service to public education without giving meaningful raises to our most experienced educators, Gov. Cooper’s proposal finally recognizes that ALL of North Carolina’s teachers have been severely underpaid,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Educators are tired of being some of the worst-paid in the country, and Gov. Cooper’s plan to raise teacher pay to the national average is the first meaningful plan to change that since the Great Recession began almost a decade ago.”
In 2014, Sen. Phil Berger claimed teachers were getting “the largest pay increase in history,” which turned out to be completely false. In 2015, Berger touted a modest raise for teachers in his budget proposal — which would have been paid for by laying off 8,500 teacher assistants across the state.
Last year, Republican lawmakers once again made a big claim — saying their budget would put the average teacher salary in North Carolina “over $50,000 per year.” However, that claim turn out to be false as well.
“When you account for inflation, most teachers in North Carolina are still making less than they would have before the Great Recession began,” added Brenner. “It’s past time to reinvest in our public school system, and begin to undo the damage caused by years of Republican rule and broken promises on education.”
Gov. Cooper’s budget proposal also gives teachers an annual stipend to help pay for school supplies, which teachers usually buy with their own money. It also includes an average 6.5% pay increase for principals and assistant principals, whose salaries currently rank 50th in the country.