CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County Board of Education approved pay raises for thousands of employees Tuesday as uncertainty remains over whether state lawmakers will finalize a budget.
The raises will impact different employees in different ways. These are some of the highlights:
- Non-certified staff members (e.g. custodians and teacher assistants) will receive a 3 percent raise retroactive to July 1, when the fiscal year began.
- Bus drivers will receive a new minimum wage of $15 per hour.
- Certified staff (e.g. teachers) will receive an additional 0.5 percent increase in the supplement they receive from the school system, which is above the pay they receive from the state. This is retroactive to July 1.
- Support staff will also receive a one-time $500 bonus, which will be in their December paychecks.
School administrators presented the plan Tuesday afternoon, saying the funding for the raises came from a variety of changes in the budget.
In particular, the school system is saving $3.5 million after learning about 1,000 fewer students enrolled in charter schools in Wake County than anticipated. WCPSS had projected 15,276 county students in charter schools, but that enrollment is actually 14,084.
At the same time, WCPSS enrollment of nearly 162,000 is about 800 students more than anticipated. School board member Jim Martin brought up the fact that last school year WCPSS saw an increase of only 42 students, and he believes that was an anomaly that doesn’t reflect long-term trends.
The vote Tuesday happened as state leaders are still negotiating key aspects of the budget, including teacher pay and whether to expand Medicaid. In June, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed the budget crafted by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Since then, the legislature has passed a series of so-called “mini budgets.” Cooper also vetoed one of those, which would have provided an average pay raise for teachers of 3.9 percent over two years. Lawmakers have not yet resolved the impasse over the budget and are not expected to return to Raleigh until mid-January.
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