RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper’s recommended budget for 2018-19 heads in the right direction by prioritizing education over tax cuts and offering an average raise of 8% to North Carolina teachers, whose pay ranked 37th in the country in a recent survey.1
The two-year budget state legislators adopted last year included average raises for K-12 teachers of 3.3% in 2017-18 and more than 6% in 2018-19, for an increase of 9.6% over two years.2
The budget recommendation Cooper released Thursday would extend the 2018-19 raise to an average of 8%, with no teacher receiving less than a 5% raise. The raises would be directed primarily to veteran teachers with 25 years’ experience, who are not scheduled to receive a raise in 2018-19 under current plans.
The governor maintains the raises would keep the state on track to reach the national average in teacher pay in four years.3
Limiting further upper-income tax cuts to build on the raises approved last year and address the state’s education needs appears to be in the right direction.
The governor found the $100 million to increase teacher raises by limiting a planned reduction in state income-tax rates to households that make less than $200,000.4
Other state employees would receive a raise of $1,250 or 2%, whichever is greater. The governor’s proposal also includes money for bonuses for select community college and university faculty.5
Other highlights from the governor’s budget proposal:
- $15 million to provide a $150 stipend for each teacher to buy classroom supplies.6
- $20 million to expand broadband internet access in rural North Carolina, in part to help close the “homework gap” faced by students without internet access.7
- $30 million to launch NC GROW, a proposal to provide last-dollar tuition assistance to qualified community-college students in high-demand fields.
- $20 million to provide new “Finish Line Grants” to provide emergency grants of as much as $1,000 for community college and university students who encounter financial emergencies that place their degree completion at risk.8
- $16.5 million for community colleges to expand short-term workforce training that leads to industry credentials.9
- $7.5 million to improve university graduation rates through financial support for summer coursework and new digital resources to identify and assist struggling students.10
3https://files.nc.gov/ncosbm/documents/files/BudgetBook_2018-19_web.pdf, pp. 2, 45.
4Ibid, p. 7.
5Ibid, pp. 5, 50-52.
6Ibid, p. 2.
7Ibid, pp. 5, 57.
8Ibid, pp. 3, 45, 50-52.
9Ibid, pp. 3, 51.
10Ibid, pp. 4, 45.