Lawmakers tasked with coming up with a 2015 state budget met in public this afternoon, where Senate leaders pitched once again an 11 percent pay increase for teachers – but this time, without requiring them to give up their tenure protections.
Sen. Harry Brown introduced the proposal, explaining that their budget plan would bring North Carolina up to 27th in the national rankings for teacher pay. The House’s plan would only boost North Carolina to 37th.[ See documents related to the Senate's latest offering here.]
While Rep. Brian Holloway said he was pleased to see that the Senate has offered to give up hinging pay raises on whether or not teachers give up tenure, he was quick to point out how the Senate continues to propose paying for that plan by eliminating teacher assistants.
Sen. Bob Rucho defended the Senate’s plan to eliminate TAs, noting that the teacher assistant model was put into place by former Gov. Jim Hunt and that since then, reading proficiency among North Carolina’s children has decreased.
Brown echoed Rucho’s sentiments, saying that “study after study” indicates that TAs have no positive effect on student achievement. [Authors of one study that Senate leader Phil Berger pointed to as evidence that TAs were not a necessary classroom investment have publicly said Berger misinterpreted their study results.]
Senate leaders also asked House members to defend their proposal to increase the lottery advertising budget as a way to pay for their proposed 5 percent teacher raises.
Rep. Nelson Dollar defended the House’s plan, unwilling to budge on increasing the lottery advertising budget from 1 percent to 2 percent while also enacting truth in advertising language that some say would make it harder to raise hoped for revenues.
Budget conferees will meet again in public tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.