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.

Now the major stumbling blocks are teacher pay and tenure.

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?