Senator Berger Wants to Fund Teacher Raises by Stripping Teaching Assistants from 2nd and 3rd Graders
Berger's Budget Shell Game Is Revealed in Late-Night Document Dump
RALEIGH - After claiming on Wednesday morning that Republicans can fund an 11% pay raise for teachers because of smart budget decisions in the past, NC Senate President Phil Berger revealed in a late-night document dump that he really plans to fund a teacher raise in large part by cutting teaching assistants from all 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms in North Carolina.
On Wednesday morning before a bank of news cameras, Senator Berger clearly projected that an average raise of $5800 for teachers would cost the stat $468M. But Berger would not answer repeated questions on how he proposed to pay for the raise. Berger repeatedly said the Senate budget would be released Wednesday afternoon.
Then late Wednesday night, Senate Republicans released their proposed budget. The budget proposes a savings of $233M by funding teaching assistants in only kindergarten and first grade. State funding for 2nd and 3rd grade TA's would be totally eliminated.
"A plan to raise teacher pay by double-digits by stripping teaching assistants from 2nd and 3rd graders is ridiculous," said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina. "Senator Berger did not want to unveil his plan to pay for a teacher pay raise during the day, because it's revealed as a mean-spirited political shell game and continued attack on our public schools when you hold it up to the light."