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  • Aidan McInnis

Legislative Update: July 1st, 2024


Education Updates Summer 2024


Last week, the North Carolina House released a budget plan (adjustment to the biennium budget adopted in 2023) that would add a 1% average raise on top of the 3% average raise allocated for the second year in the previously adopted budget. As we have seen, the largest pay increases are being given to beginning teachers. Considering the shortage of teachers, and lack of interest our students appear to have in choosing education as a career, this raise could be better.


The House's Budget Proposal 


The House plan would raise starting teacher pay to $44,000, but without support shown throughout the pay scale, the incentive to teach for the full thirty years to receive retirement is less enticing.  Especially, for those teachers hired after 2021 because they will no longer receive health benefits upon retirement.  We need better starting pay for teachers but again, it must be allocated throughout the pay scale to promote teacher retention. 

 

The proposal did include a restoration of Master’s pay for those meeting the qualifications and not yet grandfathered in. The House has a history of supporting the restoration of Master’s, but it has consistently failed to receive support from the North Carolina Senate. The plan also includes Principals, Assistant Principals, and non-certified staff in the 1 percent raise proposal. 

 

In addition, the plan would continue to fund and expand the voucher program Opportunity Scholarship. The House budget adjustment proposal calls for an additional $250 million for the program. This would fully fund the program which has a wait list of 55,000 students applying for the private school subsidy. Considering the small pay bump for educators, it is disheartening to see so much money invested in a program that has zero accountability. Our public schools are graded and investigated daily, but this program has no oversight or accountability.  


Other educational items of interest included in the budget adjustment are:

 

  • Ten million for funding the state-supported supplements for low-wealth counties

  • Funding ($900,000) for the Math That Counts program.  This Pilot program uses the i-Ready platform for assessing 4th and 5th-grade students and is set to start this fall in select counties.

  • Directs the SBOE to choose a minimum of 20 PSUs to pilot a new career development requirement for 7th graders to complete. Also included is funding for a CTE coordinator in each district to help implement this additional requirement. 

  • Funding (2.9 million) for 6th and 7th grade CTE programs to enhance CTE’s presence in middle grades.

  • Funding (2.2 million) for a partnership program with selected manufacturers and school laboratories to allow students to earn a manufacturing credential.

  • Additional funding ($700,000) for Governor’s School

  • Competitive grant money (1 million) for Agricultural technology and agricultural education

  • Grant money (1.7 million) for suicide prevention training for educators


Soon To Come


Finally, the week ended with a twist as the North Carolina Senate released its alternative to the House Budget.  The Senate Budget was only 46 pages in length and spent far less than the House proposal.  In short, there were no additional raises in their budget, and the only major education similarity with the House was their support for Opportunity Scholarship.  Currently, negotiations are best described with the term “gridlock”.  It could be some time before negotiations are resolved.  We will keep you informed on the happenings of the North Carolina General Assembly, but little news is expected over the coming weeks. 


PENC Advocacy Team:

Tammy Beach

Bryan Holloway

Robert Mitchell

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