Teachers on proposed state budget deal: “Once again, it’s another slap in the face” and “It’s demoralizing.”
Despite a $445 million budget surplus, GOP budget deal insults teachers once again with a meager one-time bonus -- but no pay raise for vast majority of educators
Reaction from veteran public school teachers was swift and clear after learning of a preliminary state budget deal which includes no pay raise for the vast majority of teachers and only a one-time $750 bonus.
“Once again it’s a slap in the face,” said Dianne Jones, a veteran teacher of more than 30-years in Wake County. “I just don’t understand why these legislators don’t think we’re that important that they can’t raise our pay to at least the national level.”
A one-time $750 bonus works out to less than $15 per week -- hardly enough to cover gas money to and from school for most teachers. Although some teachers would receive their contractually-obligated step increases, most teachers who are in between pay steps would get next to nothing this year.
“Politicians spent months bragging about a $450 million surplus, but they’d rather give more tax breaks to big corporations than make meaningful investments in our public schools,” said Progress NC Action executive director Gerrick Brenner. “This $750 Christmas bonus amounts to a lump of coal for teachers and will only encourage more North Carolina educators to leave the state.”
A state budget was due on July 1st and is now 58 days late. Lawmakers have wasted over $1 million dollars in taxpayer money on operating costs and per diem money for lawmakers at the General Assembly. By failing to pass a budget in time for the opening of school for over a million public school students on Monday, school districts have been left in the lurch. In the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, 500 teaching assistants are scheduled to be laid off if a budget is not passed by then. State lawmakers in Raleigh have said they do not expect a final budget to meet their their third deadline of August 31.
“North Carolina currently ranks 42nd in the nation for teacher pay, and this budget agreement will likely do nothing to change that,” added Brenner. “Time and again, voters have expressed their desire to see our state’s teacher pay raised to the national average. But this legislature does not seem to care.”