NC Republicans propose budget with teacher raises, vote set for Thursday

Political News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new plan that rolled out Wednesday would lead to raises for teachers and other school employees. Republicans, however, say the raises would be higher if Democrats agreed to vote with them on overriding Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget.

The proposal breaks down into two parts. The first is not contingent on the budget veto being overridden.

The Republican-crafted plan calls for 3.9 percent raises for teachers over two years, with support staff receiving a 2 percent raise over two years. The raises would be retroactive to July 1.

If the budget veto is overridden, the raises for teachers go up to 4.4 percent. For non-instructional staff, it would be 4 percent over two years, plus a 0.5 percent bonus. UNC system and community college employees would also get 4 percent over two years.

“This is an amount that is huge. It’s an increase that I can’t recall this big in quite a while,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R).

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) had called for raises of more than 8 percent for teachers. He vetoed the budget the General Assembly passed in June, citing concerns over the lack of Medicaid expansion and funding for education.

Since then, the legislature has passed piecemeal “mini-budgets” to fund various aspects of state government. The House took a surprise vote last month to override the governor’s veto.

The Senate still has not acted on that. On Wednesday, the Senate pushed off an override vote to Thursday.

In the Senate, Republicans need one Democrat to vote with them in order to override Cooper’s veto. So far, all 21 have been unwilling to do so.

House and Senate leaders plan to bring up the teacher pay proposal for a vote Thursday.

“We’re going to continue to hold out. We’re willing to sit down and talk to anybody that wants to talk, but we’re going to continue to hold out for a fair raise,” said House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake).

In a statement, Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said, “The educator pay proposal forward today is wildly insulting to educators of every level. We stood with the Governor on his veto of the budget because it failed North Carolina educators on every level, and we stand with the Governor now in mutual disgust over this bill. By trying to somehow entice Democratic lawmakers to override the Governor’s veto with minuscule pay increases is not only disgusting, it shows how desperate Republican leaders really are to get their tax cuts pushed through.”

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