Gov. Cooper pushes teacher pay raises on Teacher Appreciation Day

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Gov. Roy Cooper spent the morning at a Wake County elementary school thanking teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day.

The governor visited Combs Elementary after First Grader Sarah Edgar wrote the governor a letter, inviting him to visit.

"She drew a picture of the rainforest and she was concerned about it and she had other issues that she wanted to talk about so she invited me to her first grade class," said Cooper.

During his visit, Cooper told teachers public education is one of his top priorities in his proposed budget.

His plan includes a 10 percent average pay increase for teachers during the next two years, as well as an annual school supply stipend of $150 for each classroom teacher.

Cooper's plan would put the average teacher salary at more than $52,000 in 2017-2018. That average is proposed to be at $55,000 in 2018-2019.

"I think North Carolinians want to invest in public education," said Cooper. "They know how important it is so we got our work cut out as we head into the budget negotiations."

State republican leadership has also indicated teacher raises will be a top priority in their spending plan.

In April, House Speaker Tim Moore responded to the governor's proposal by saying Republicans have made historic commitments to raising teacher pay since 2014 and they're excited to hear the governor wants to join them in those efforts.

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