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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Hours after he signed the state budget into law in Raleigh, Governor Pat McCrory was proudly touting the deal here in Charlotte.

The budget includes an increase in teacher pay, but the governor still found himself on the defensive.

At a press conference earlier this week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison told reporters the state budget will mean cuts to the classrooms with 90 fewer teaching assistant positions this coming school year than last.

The governor responded by saying, "They are incorrect, and I'd be glad to have my budget director explain that. I think there's some miscommunication. We are supplying the exact amount of money. If they use the money that we sent them, they can hire every teacher aide that was on the payroll this year, next year."

NBC Charlotte spoke with the superintendent Thursday afternoon after talking with the governor, and he insists there is a $2.6 million funding gap, and that will mean fewer TAs in the classroom. He is hopeful there will be some sort of adjustment to the budget that could change that, but that seems unlikely.

Another bone of contention is the teacher pay raises; they average 7-percent, but a chart shows veteran teachers don't fare so well, with some raises actually less than 1-percent.

"But I think it's distributed in the best way based on the market conditions of where we're losing teachers and where we need to gain teachers in North Carolina," McCrory said. "The highest attrition rate is occurring within the first 10 years of teaching, and we needed to reward those teachers to reduce the amount of attrition."

Bottom line, he says, teachers are finally getting a long overdue raise and the state didn't raise taxes to make it happen.

"Listen, we're giving very good pay raises to teachers, I'm proud of that."

NBC Charlotte spoke with the superintendent Thursday afternoon after talking with the governor, and he insists there is a $2.6 million funding gap, and that it will mean fewer TAs in the classroom.
He is hopeful there will be some sort of adjustment to the budget that could change that, but that seems unlikely.

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