Tillis, Berger & GOP Lawmakers Owe Apology to NC Teachers for Wildly Misleading Budget Claims
Raleigh News & Observer Report Now Clearly Shows that Claims of "Largest Teacher Pay Raise in State History" Are Just False
RALEIGH -- Today, The Raleigh News & Observer clearly spelled out that claims of the new North Carolina state budget including "the largest teacher pay raise in state history" are simply false. For days lawmakers have been crowing about "the largest teacher pay raise in state history." Now that those lawmakers are proven wrong by reporting of one of the state's most veteran political reporters, those lawmakers should apologize to North Carolina teachers for their repeatedly misleading statements. They should also set the record straight.
"Lawmakers who have been parroting these wild 'largest in history' claims should apologize to teachers," said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina Action. "The politicians leading the General Assembly for the past four years have been cutting public education and denying it almost every step of the way. Now, even when they finally offer a teacher pay raise, why must they claim it's more than it really is?"
Last week when NC House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senator Phil Berger unveiled a belated budget deal, they claimed before a bank of television news cameras that they were passing a 7% pay raise for teachers, which was "the largest teacher pay raise in state history." GOP members of the General Assembly rushed to Twitter and Facebook to parrot the claim and their own websites ran the headline "Budget to Provide Largest Teacher Pay Raise in NC History." GOP lawmakers also claimed they were not cutting teaching assistants to pay for the teacher pay raise.
But today The Raleigh News & Observer newspaper clearly spells out a long history of teacher pay raises which were larger than 7%. The same newspaper also today outlines how the Republican state budget will leave Wake County Schools with a $12.6M shortfall. And the Winston-Salem Journal reported Monday that the state budget will force Forsyth County Schools to slash 125 teaching assistant positions, after state lawmakers claimed they were not cutting TA's to pay for a teacher pay raise.
"There's a ton of confusion out there among teachers," Brenner said. "Veteran teachers heard they were getting a 7% raise, then many learned they were getting something much smaller. They hear the raise is the 'largest in state history,' and then they read in the paper that it clearly is not. Speaker Tillis, Senator Berger and lawmakers who have been peddling this confusion should come forward to set the record straight. Already the budget promises in Raleigh are not panning out in local school districts. And teachers don't deserve to be yanked around like this."