by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
State legislative leaders appear to have agreed on a plan to fund Medicaid next year, which is a major step toward approving their adjustments to the biennial budget.
Senate: The Senate wants a gigantic increase in teacher pay, an average of 11 percent, funded mostly by a $230+ million cut to teacher assistants. As a condition of accepting the increase, the Senate would ask experienced teachers to relinquish their tenure (also called career status).
House and Governor: Governor McCrory and members of the House offered a plan to increase teacher pay by an average of 5 percent, a healthy portion of which would come from a projected increase in lottery revenue. There are no tenure provisions or teacher assistant cuts in their plan.
From what I can tell, tenure is not a deal-breaker. Rather, the House is reluctant to agree to a plan that would force school districts to fire thousands of teacher assistants and require county commissions to increase funding to support raises for locally-funded teachers.
The Senate leadership contends that a 5 percent increase is too low and dislikes relying on lottery revenue to fund teacher pay increases.
The question is – who will blink first?