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The budget battle on teacher pay is disturbing. Gov. Roy Cooper pandered to emotions and vetoed the bill by the legislature because the pay raise for teachers was not high enough. I do believe that Governor Cooper is using this, leading to the 2020 election, to create emotion to gain political advantage.
The N.C. Republican leadership has included teacher pay raises for the last five years. I believe a path of steady pay increases each year is better than one big increase all at once, then stagnating. Another part of the teacher pay discussion not addressed is that paying a higher increase in teacher salary would affect the ability to raise pay for other education employees such as maintenance, custodial care, administrative, counselling staffs, nurses and nutrition staffs. Besides their pay, these important members of our education system are severely understaffed in some areas that should be part of the discussion when addressing teacher pay.
Finally, a large pay raise for teachers cuts into the hiring budget. This continues the already identified problem of overcrowding in classrooms. Budgets are complex and there is no easy answer that will please everyone. Increases in one area cause decreases in other areas such as the master’s degree program, continuing education, infrastructure improvements and facility additions
The current path for pay raises each budget cycle is best for long-term pay improvement for our teachers and gives them a consistent expectation each year for pay raises.