RALEIGH, NC – With today’s announcement of Governor Cooper’s proposed budget, the North Carolina Association of Educators applauds the governor’s commitment to increasing support for public education.
NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly released the following statement in response to the governor’s proposed budget:
“Governor Cooper today put public education at the center of his proposed budget. By doing so, the governor again acknowledged the very real concerns of North Carolina’s public-school students, parents, educators and support staff. Since the start of the 2023 legislative session, NCAE has centered the rights of our state’s 1.5 million students to receive the fully funded education they need and deserve.
“By providing funding to hire additional school counselors, nurses, social workers and psychologists the governor has answered our call to support the mental and physical health of our students and help to address the strain put on our educators in the face of an alarming rise in teacher vacancies. We are also hopeful that the governor’s budget items to reduce meal debt and provide more free meals for students eligible for reduced fees are a step in the right direction toward providing universal access to breakfast and lunch for all of North Carolina’s students, another priority NCAE has been advocating for this legislative session.
“NCAE supports the governor’s proposed pay raises for public school employees of 10% in the first year, and we urge the governor and other lawmakers to push for a further 10% increase in the second year, rather than the current proposal of 6%, to account for the years of salary loss for educators who have long been undercompensated.
“We also applaud the governor’s commitment to funding of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan to ensure every student in North Carolina has access to a quality education that prepares them to succeed in the future.”
NCAE is pleased to see that the governor’s proposed budget includes provisions to meet the needs of our public-school communities, such as:
- A pilot grant program providing funding to high-poverty schools that adopt a Community Schools model to address barriers to learning
- Funding for additional teacher assistants to more effectively support K-3 students by moving toward nationally recommended student-to-staff ratios
- Supports for teachers of Color and rural teachers
- Across the board raises for teachers, principals, central office and non-certified employees
- $1,000 retention bonuses for all public school employees with an additional $500 for those making under $75,000
- Raising starting teacher salaries from $37,000 to $46,000 in the 2024-2025 school year
- Restoration of master’s pay
- Additional step plan salary increases for teachers, minimizing pay plateaus
- A 2% cost-of-living increase for retirees in 2023-2024 and a 1% supplement in 2024-2025