New budget deal offers NC teachers 7 pct. raise

Some teachers are not backing a teacher pay hike touted as the largest teacher pay raise, in state history.

Critics of the compromise bill say the deal unveiled by lawmakers Tuesday isn't what it seems.

The bill calls for a 7 percent teacher pay raise, which on average works out to $3500 dollars per teacher each year. It also retains teacher assistants.

"We not only have a framework as the budget is concerned, we have the details pretty much worked out," said NC Assembly President Pro Tem, Phil Berger.

Charles Smith, President of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators says state lawmakers have yet to fulfill the promise made to teachers with this bill.

"It's kind of the old expression, 'the devils in the details,' we don't know yet," said Smith.

Smith, one area of contention is that part of the 7 percent raise will come from teachers themselves, since longevity pay is included in the overall raise.

State employees are eligible for longevity pay of 1.5 percent after 10 years. The longer the service, the higher the longevity rate.

"So let's say you make $50,000 and worked as a teacher for 25 years. They are going to roll that into what they are calling a 7% raise, so if you are 4.5 percent rate, maybe it is 2.5 percent," he said.

Supporters say the $282 million dollars for teacher raises will bump the state's national teacher pay ranking from No. 46 to No. 32.

The bill is aimed at restoring the state's competitive advantage in recruiting quality teachers.

"Which group of teachers are they saying they are raising to the national average, starting teachers, all teachers, that's still unclear," said Smith.


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