A “PolitiFact NC” report late Monday from The News & Observer is finding some dubious assertions about teacher pay by influential N.C. Senate Republican Phil Berger.
Berger, who serves as Senate president, recently claimed his party raised average teacher pay in the state by more than 15 percent over the last three years.
According to the paper, that’s not exactly true.
From The N&O:
PolitiFact NC looked into that claim and ruled it Mostly False.
In reality, the average teacher has seen a raise of about 10.8 percent in the last three years. So Berger’s claim missed the mark – and he also failed to mention that the GOP has been in charge of the state budget for the last six years, not just the last three years.
In the first three years of budgets written and passed by Republican lawmakers, average teacher pay declined every year. So in the total span of GOP control, average teacher pay has risen about half as much as Berger’s claim.
Berger did point to a state document that initially seemed to back up his 15 percent claim, but it applied only to the state’s portion of teacher pay and also relied on accounting tricks to reach that number.
The debate comes with both the GOP-controlled N.C. General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper expected to back sweeping raises for teachers in this year’s budget.
This month, Cooper proposed a 10 percent raise for all teachers over two years, a rate the governor’s office claims would bring the state to tops in teacher pay in the southeast in three years. GOP lawmakers have also expressed a goal of raising average teacher pay, which falls just shy of $50,000 today, to about $55,000 in their spending plan.