“Bait and switch” budget decimates teaching assistants, leaves veteran teachers out in the cold
Senate budget proposal would eliminate over 8,500 teaching assistants, raise community college tuition and leave veteran teachers out in the cold yet again
The Senate budget proposal would eliminate over 8,500 teaching assistants, cut over 500 pre-kindergarten spots, and force community colleges to raise tuition. And despite promises of a four percent teacher raise, many veteran teachers would get nothing.
Under the Senate’s proposed salary schedule, teachers with over 25 years of experience would get no raise at all. For teachers with 20-24 years of experience, their raise works out to just $50 per month -- barely enough to pay for a tank of gas.
“If you’re an experienced teacher or a teaching assistant in North Carolina, this budget sends a message loud and clear that you don’t matter,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “We should be doing everything we can to keep our best teachers from leaving for better pay in other states, but lawmakers are just saying ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out.’”
This isn’t the first bait-and-switch budget proposed by the Senate. Last year, Sen. Berger claimed that teachers were getting “the largest pay raise in North Carolina history” under his plan. That turned out to be completely false. His claims that teachers were getting “an average 7 percent raise” turned out to be false as well. In fact, some of our most experienced teachers received "raises" as low as 0.29% -- although even that is still more than they’re getting this year.
Lawmakers refuse to raise North Carolina teacher pay to the national average, and refuse to return education funding to pre-recession levels. When combined with the General Assembly’s obsession with divisive social issues such as marriage equality and abortion, it’s no wonder why some major potential employers have decided to go elsewhere.
“Companies choose to move to North Carolina because they want a great place for their employees to live,” added Brenner. “Unfortunately, the General Assembly’s misplaced priorities keep giving potential employers like Mercedes and Volvo good reason to go somewhere else.”
Taking a longer look back, today across North Carolina there are already 7,000 fewer teaching assistants than there were in 2008 before the Great Recession. Despite an expected $400M surplus, the budget which has already passed the House would do nothing to replace those classroom TAs.