JAMESTOWN, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and top legislative leaders say they'll commit about $200 million over the next two years to raise pay for starting teachers from nearly $31,000 a year to $35,000 to keep educators from leaving classrooms.

The agreement announced Monday has a strong chance of becoming law because McCrory and heavy majorities in the General Assembly are Republicans.

Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden and House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius say the deal announced at McCrory's old high school in Jamestown is a down payment. They say raises for more teachers and state employees are possible this year if state revenues meet projections.

North Carolina Association of Educators President Rodney Ellis says leaving experienced teachers without raises undercuts educators who mentor the newcomers.

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