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Many assistant principals in the state will go without pay raises this year – even as the teachers and other school staff working in their schools do get raises.

The N.C. legislature responded to widespread discontent over North Carolina’s low teacher pay this year by including pay raises for teachers in their $21.1 billion budget. Republican legislative leaders have described the increase as an average raise of 7 percent. Others, including the N.C. Association of Educators, have chipped away at that number, pointing out that lawmakers folded in existing longevity bonuses to make their calculations.

The salary schedule for assistant principals shows that they seemed to have escaped lawmakers’ priorities this year, with salaries stagnant for professionals in their first 12 years of education work with only nominal raises not topping $200 in later years.

The salary schedule for assistant principals gradually ticks up in the 13th year, with the base salary going up by $28 for the entire year, according to the comparisons between for 2013-14 and 2014-15 public education salaries posted by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. (Scroll down to see salary schedules.)

It doesn’t mean that the assistant principals will go completely without, however.

A onetime $809 bonus from non-recurring funds will go  to the assistant principals who don’t otherwise get raises this year, said Vanessa Jeter, a DPI spokeswoman. Or if the teacher salary for the corresponding year of service is higher than the assistant principal pay, the assistant principal would get the higher pay, she said.

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North Carolina’s public universities can’t keep turning to tuition revenues to fund need-based aid for lower-income students, a move could lessen how much aid is available for coming classes and lead some to take on more student loans.

The university system’s Board of Governors unanimously passed a four-year tuition proposal Friday that puts a 15 percent cap on how much tuition money schools can use for need-based aid to help lower-income students.

The need-based aid proposal also freezes the dollar amount that goes to need-based aid at five campuses that are at or exceed the 15 percent mark – Elizabeth City State University ($470,584), Fayetteville State University ($328,869), N.C. State University ($7.3 million)and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($19.1 million) and Winston Salem-State University ($190,089). Read More

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Two members of the state’s advisory board for charter schools unexpectedly submitted their resignations yesterday.

Both Baker Mitchell, of Wilmington, and Paul Norcross, of High Point, co-founded charter schools and have been some of the more prominent advocates through the N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools for the privately-run but publicly-funded schools. They also both own companies that have contracts to run public charter schools in the state.

State Sen. Phil Berger appointed Sherry Reeves of Pamlico County to fill the unexpired term of Baker Mitchell. Reeves served on the board of Arapahoe Charter School in 2011-12. Berger appointed Phyllis Gibbs of Guilford County to fill the unexpired term of Paul Norcross.

The state Senate approved those replacements today. The charter school advisory board reviews applications for charter schools and makes recommendations about approvals and rules governing the schools to the State Board of Education.

Mitchell and Norcross had been the target of recent ethics complaints, though no violations of state ethics law have been substantiated.

This spring, Eddie Goodall of the N.C. Association of Charter School’s filed complaints with the N.C. Ethics Commission against the two. Goodall’s complaint takes issue with Norcross and Mitchell not recusing themselves from a May charter school advisory vote to approve a school  that’s a member of the alliance organization that Mitchell and Norcross have affiliations with.

Mitchell and Norcross submitted their resignations to Sen. Phil Berger within an hour of each other Wednesday afternoon, according to copies of their resignation letters obtained by N.C. Policy Watch.

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Aldona Wos, North Carolina’s embattled Health and Human Services Secretary, was the woman of the hour at a luncheon held Wednesday that included remarks from Gov. Pat McCrory that Wos has been unfairly criticized.

The Greensboro News & Record covered the event sponsored by the Greensboro Partnership, a booster group for city, that honored Wos.  A former Greensboro mayor that spoke at the luncheon referred to it as “an old-fashioned love feast.”

NC HHS Sec. Aldona Wos

NC HHS Sec. Aldona Wos

A Greensboro physician and wealthy Republican fundraiser, Wos has been a lighting rod in the $1-a-year job she took in January 2013 heading the health and human services agency under McCrory.

At the luncheon Wednesday, McCrory came to Wos’ defense.

“She is fighting battles that you would not believe, while I read the Raleigh and Charlotte newspapers that say she’s overpaid at a dollar a year,” McCrory said, according to the News & Record.

She also received “a crystal sculpture depicting a person who is pushing a big ball uphill,” according to the newspaper.

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The governor hasn’t been out in the public much this week, at least not in places where reporters could ask him about the $21.3 billion compromise budget Republican legislative leaders announced yesterday.

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Gov. Pat McCrory

But Gov. Pat McCrory’s office did take care Tuesday night to give last-minute notice to the state’s press corps that the governor would speak about the budget,  just at an event reporters were barred from attending.

Sent at 7:25 p.m.  Tuesday, an emailed media advisory from McCrory’s press office notified reporters that the governor would speak in 20 minutes, at 7:45 p.m., for the N.C. Sheriff Association’s annual banquet in New Bern.

McCrory’s talk would include “an update on the immigration issue many states, including North Carolina, are facing. The governor will also provide an update on the ongoing budget negotiations back in Raleigh.”

(It’s worth nothing here that, though details about an average teacher pay raise of seven percent in the budget deal were announced yesterday by legislative leaders, the actual budget has yet to be publicly released.)

McCrory’s media advisory from Tuesday night also noted that the event was closed to media — meaning any reporters who could have scrambled with 20-minutes notice to hear his thoughts on these two big public policy issues wouldn’t be welcome.

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