Teacher salaries would increase on average 4.5% over the next two years, including the step increases. The federal Office of Budget and Management projects a 6.5% inflation increase. Simple math reveals that the budget essentially cuts teacher pay.
The Senate budget (yellow column below) does increase the starting pay for beginning teachers from $37,000 to $39,000, but the bump quickly fades as later step increases don’t keep up. For example, teachers in years 14 through 30 receive an annual increase of just $200/year.
The chart below, created by NC teacher Kim Mackey compares the current salary schedule with Governor Cooper’s proposal, the House and Senate proposals, and in green, the salary schedule from 2007-2008 adjusted for inflation. Governor Cooper’s proposal does the most to bring teacher salaries to their previous levels.
One needs to look no further than these numbers to understand the root cause of our teacher shortages. Back in 2007-2008, NC had no teacher shortages.
Of the 13 states in the Southeast, North Carolina ranks dead last for beginning teacher pay at our current rate and 12th with the $2,000 increase to $39,000 proposed in the Senate budget. Texas (#1) pays beginning teachers $46,821 and Alabama (#2) pays $45,399.
The Senate budget increases voucher funding in alignment with the House budget, adding millions each year to the current appropriations and expanding eligibility to all families regardless of income. By 2032-33, more than $520 million/year will be going to the Opportunity Scholarship voucher program.
See our May 13 newsletter for more information on the harmful effects of vouchers.
So what’s next?
Now that both the House and Senate have approved their budget proposals, the two versions will enter the conference stage to iron out differences. Both chambers will appoint conferees to negotiate and resolve differences. The final conference report will be the result of these negotiations.
Then the House and Senate will vote on the Conference Report. If passed, it will be ratified and sent to Governor Cooper for his signature or veto.
There is still time to influence these decisions. Contact your legislators! The damage to public schools will affect all communities across the state, especially rural communities.
It is worth noting that North Carolina’s Budget Process is not being followed in either the House or Senate. The official process calls for discussion among members, deliberation, and options for amendments. Little, if any of the discussion or deliberation occurred. While amendments were allowed, the severe restrictions placed on budget amendments make them virtually nonexistent.
Find lists of legislators and contact information here.
If you don’t know who your legislators are, you can find them here.
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