Education

N.C. Association of Educators blast state Senate’s two-year spending plan

This blog post was updated to include comments by Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue.

Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE), didn’t like what he saw in the two-year spending plan released Tuesday by the N.C. Senate.

Jewell said the Senate’s budget proposal represents “more political shenanigans, more band-aid approaches to problems, and more blatant disrespect for educators and the communities they serve.”

The Senate budget calls for a 3.5 percent average pay raise for teachers over the next two years. It also provides bonuses for veteran teaches — $500 bonuses for those with 15-24 years of experience and $1,000 bonuses for teachers with 25 years or more.

It does not expand Medicaid, which became a legislative priority for the NCAE and was one its five demands during the May 1 teacher rally in downtown Raleigh.

“A budget that gives half-percent pay raises to teachers, and continues to deny our lowest-paid staff $15 an hour, cannot be good for students or educators in North Carolina,” Jewell said in a statement. “Not only does this budget fail to expand Medicaid or restore master’s pay to highly qualified teachers, it completely ignores the needs of retirees who have dedicated their entire career to public school students. This budget fails at nearly every level.”

Gov. Roy Cooper was also critical of the Senate’s budget in a statement released by his office on Tuesday.

“This budget leaves out Medicaid expansion that would close the health care coverage gap and it shortchanges public schools in exchange for more corporate tax cuts,” Cooper said through a spokesman.

Cooper also criticized GOP corporate tax cuts.

“What makes all of this even more offensive is that this is all done while continuing to slash corporate taxes and adding more than $1 billion to the rainy day fund,” Cooper said. “By again disinvesting in North Carolina’s students, the Senate is prioritizing short-term political gains over long-term success.”

Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue, (D. Wake County) also took a swipe at the Senate’s budget.

“The Senate Republican budget is anemic at every level,” Blue said in a statement. “The proposed corporate tax cuts and spending plan are the latest chapter in a series of reckless policies that have funneled over $3.6 billion annually away from our schools and our communities.”

Blue urged his colleagues to reconsider Medicaid expansion.

“Thirty-seven other states have set aside their feelings for the Obama administration for the greater good of their people,” Blue said. “It’s time for us to do the same. Anything less only compromises public health and economic growth across North Carolina.”

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