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Republicans announce teacher pay raise bill

The following is a press release from the office of Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham. 

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) this afternoon announced that the legislature intends to consider teacher pay raise legislation tomorrow.

The measure has two components. The first is consistent with the legislature’s approach since Governor Cooper vetoed the full state budget over his Medicaid-or-nothing ultimatum. The first section will provide pay increases for teachers and non-instructional support staff that mirror what was contained in the budget. Those raises will be retroactive to July 1, 2019, and they will take effect as soon as Governor Cooper signs the bill. The raises in the first section are not contingent on an override of the budget. Those raises are as follows:

Teachers: 3.9% over the biennium (including the step increases in House Bill 377);
Non-instructional support staff: 2% over the biennium.

The second section provides a supplement above and beyond the raises included in the budget. That supplement will take effect if the full budget (House Bill 966) becomes law. The raises in the event House Bill 966 becomes law are as follows:

Teachers: 4.4% over the biennium;
Non-instructional support staff: 4% over the biennium, plus a 0.5% bonus;
UNC System employees: 4% over the biennium;
Community college employees: 4% over the biennium.

If Governor Cooper signs this bill and the step increase that the Senate passed last week, then every teacher will receive a pay raise. If Governor Cooper vetoes the bills, then he alone will have prevented teachers from getting a raise.

For the last five months, Governor Cooper has refused to support any compromise budget that does not include Medicaid expansion. It is clear, then, that Governor Cooper will not sign a budget into law. The only other option to enact a new budget is to override Governor Cooper’s veto.

Senate Republicans asked Senate Democrats last week what they need to support a veto override. Senate Democrats have not offered an answer, leaving Republicans to negotiate only with themselves.

This bill is the result of that negotiation.

Senator Berger said, “This teacher pay plan goes above and beyond what a bipartisan supermajority passed in the original budget. We will soon learn whether Senate Democrats are more committed to the Governor’s Medicaid ultimatum or to what they claim is a top priority: teachers.”

Berger continued, “There’s still time for Senate Democrats to come back to us with what more they need to override the veto. This bill can change in five minutes. Otherwise, this is it. If the Governor vetoes this bill, teachers and support staff are the only ones in the state who will get nothing.”

Speaker Moore said, “Two months ago, North Carolina’s nonpartisan budget agencies released a revised revenue forecast projecting a $277 million increase in expected tax collections over this fiscal biennium. Senator Berger and I agree this additional funding that resulted from smart economic policies should continue to benefit educator pay. North Carolina has passed 18 states in teacher pay rankings after five consecutive pay raises according to the National Education Association. This proposal would build on our success to maintain that commitment to


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.