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McCrory pushes plan to pay beginning teachers more, hopes for raises for all teachers

Pay beginning teachers more, and pay veteran teachers more too — if available revenue allows.

That was the message from Governor Pat McCrory today, who convened his Education Cabinet at Meredith College to discuss top budget priorities for the upcoming legislative session that begins May 14.

“The budget is very tight,” cautioned McCrory, who said that while sales tax revenues are strong and there will be sufficient funds to cover tax refunds this year, Medicaid continues to be a very tough issue.

“Medicaid numbers impact us all, including education — whether we like to hear it or not, it is the truth,” said McCrory.

The Governor has already put forth his proposal to raise beginning teacher salaries up from where they stand now at $30,800 to $35,000 by 2015, in an attempt to attract and retain high quality teachers in North Carolina.

McCrory pushed that proposal again in today’s cabinet meeting as a first step to occur during the short session, coupled with the goal of providing pay increases for all educators in accordance with available revenue.

“Art [Pope] and I are having these discussions, along with some of my friends in budget,” said McCrory, “and we’re looking at every line in the budget for both state employees and educators.”

But across-the-board pay increases for both beginning and veteran educators seems unlikely, according to GOP lawmakers who say the latest revenue report forecasts limited economic growth, indicating that the available revenue that McCrory says is necessary for pay raises for all educators won’t be there.

“I still have hope that the numbers will come to fruition regarding the ability to at least give some money to all state employees and other teachers,” McCrory said to reporters after the cabinet meeting.

“But no doubt the initial goal…is to make sure no teacher is making less than $35,000 irregardless of where they live in North Carolina,” he added.

Earlier this week, a legislative task force put forward a report endorsing McCrory’s plan to pay beginning teachers, much to the surprise of educators who sit on the task force who said their feedback was not taken into account during the report’s development.

Task force member Judy Kidd, president of the Classroom Teachers Association, responded to the report by saying, “career teachers in North Carolina are long past the carrot and the stick,” said Kidd. “We need to increase the pay of teachers in the state of North Carolina. Period.”

Click here to read a summary of budget priorities for all members of the Education Cabinet, including the State Board of Education, the Department of Public Instruction, each higher education system and the Department of Health and Human Services.

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