On the heels of the legislature overriding his vetoes to an immigration bill and a bill that would drug test welfare recipients, Gov. Pat McCrory appeared before State Board of Education members to address the legislature’s actions and reveal his education policy agenda in the wake of the long legislative session.
After speaking of his disagreement with this morning’s overrides of his vetoes and his intention not to enforce drug testing welfare recipients until the legislature funds that mandate, McCrory turned his attention to education.
Once again, McCrory pointed to the high cost of the Medicaid program as the reason why teachers did not receive a raise this year.
McCrory admonished lawmakers for inserting education policy into the budget bill, and called for action right now with regard to higher pay for current master’s degree-seeking teachers.
“I asked my budget director if we can find revenue for teachers already in master’s degree programs to get the salary supplement. He said yes,” said McCrory.
According to McCrory’s spokeswoman, Kim Genardo (McCrory took no questions, even though an aide told reporters he would), the Office of State Budget and Management has identified approximately $10 million to pay more than 3,000 teachers currently in the master’s degree pipeline the salary supplements they were initially promised.
The State Board of Education must decide tomorrow if they want to make the policy change necessary to honor McCrory’s request.
What’s not clear is when current degree-seekers will need to finish their degrees.
“The spirit of this is to allow teachers who began their degree programs before the legislature made this change to be paid the salary supplement they were promised,” said McCrory’s education adviser, Eric Guckian.
But members of the General Assembly passed a law that says teachers must have received their master’s degrees prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year.
“Those details must be worked out by the State Board of Education,” said Guckian.
But is it possible for the State Board of Ed to override what was enacted by the state legislature? Genardo and Guckian did not answer that question.
McCrory also announced his intention to reinstate the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Council, a diverse group of 20 public school teachers who will advise the Governor on matters of education policy.
In concert with DPI and the State Board of Ed, McCrory will also seek a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to exempt North Carolina from some of of the testing requirements associated with the Race to the Top grant program.