by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Earlier today, Governor McCrory held a press conference at the Executive Mansion to announce his support of a House proposal to raise teacher pay, a plan that appears to have earned the backing of school superintendents, teachers, chairman of State Board of Education Bill Cobey, and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.
Governor McCrory said that the House plan outlined today would provide a “fiscally sustainable pay increase” that is both “responsible and affordable.” It would boost base teacher pay by an average of 5 percent, increase pay for school support staff, and retain the Career Pathways incentive pay pilot program recommended by the Governor and included in this year’s House budget.
Notably absent were members of the Senate, whose proposed budget differed significantly from the Governor and House plans. In fact, speakers at the press conference took issue with several education reforms passed or proposed by the Senate budget writers – cuts to teacher assistant positions, Read to Achieve, the elimination of master’s degree pay, school grades, and tying teacher tenure to compensation increases.
Although House Speaker Thom Tillis dismissed the notion that the chambers are far from a budget compromise, the absence of the Senate leadership at the press conference and the very public criticism of their work suggest that the divide between chambers is sizable.