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MECKLENBURGCOUNTY, N.C. -- Teachers are preparing to rally for better pay just days before lawmakers likely take up the issue in their next session in Raleigh.

Republican state senator Jeff Tarte said Sunday he believes it is one of the few issues everyone in the General Assembly wants to address. And since an issue needs broad consensus to be considered in a so-called short session, said Tarte, teachers may get their raise.

Members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators said Sunday, a raise in their state pay is past due five years after the scale was frozen.

I've gone backwards in pay, said Marybeth Kubinski, an literacy facilitator at Crown Point Elementary School in Matthews. She has a Masters Degree, National Board Certification, and 13 years experience.

She is also making less money than she did eight years ago, she said.

It's hard to live on when you've gone backwards, and the cost of living has gone up, she said.

Independence High School science teacher Andrew Shimko is in his second year, but is making the same amount as some of the veterans showing him the ropes. He wonders how they afford to raise families.

It's already straining the budget to go out on dates, said Shimko.

It looks like lawmakers are in the teachers corner at least at this point. Addressing teacher pay appears to have overwhelming support from both parties in the upcoming session.

Republican state representative Charles Jeter said on NBC Charlotte s Flashpoint that teacher pay will be a priority.

We all need to come together and resolve the issue, said Jeter on the April 27th program, and I can assure you that teachers will get raises in this budget.

A plan to give bonuses to the top 25% of teachers in exchange for losing tenure has lost support, and counties like Guilford have successfully sued to stop it.

Rep. Jeter also said higher pay may return for teachers with advanced degrees if they are in the teacher s specialty field.

Sen. Tarte predicts that an across-the-board raise for all of North Carolina s 98,000 teachers will be hard to fund, but feels optimistic that money can be found for at least a 1 to 2% increase.

Shimko, the beginning teacher, believes a raise would help restore North Carolina s reputation as a top state for education.

We're supposed to be the best at education -- and for a long time we were in the south, he said, but we need to get there again.

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