NC Senate presents their version of the 2021-2023 Budget
June 28, 2021
Last week, the North Carolina Senate released their version of the state budget. The summary of the K-12 budget is below, but I think one could simply sum the budget up as disappointing. PENC is always grateful when legislators invest in our public educators, but the numbers in this budget are paltry at best. The North Carolina General Assembly announced a couple weeks ago that they are 6.5 billion dollars above projected revenue, and yet educators receive very little in the big picture. Teachers and support staff were left behind last session. Each side blames the other, but that does not change the result. PENC is a non-partisan organization, and we simply want the best for our educators. We are not going to play the blame game, but rather we will continue to push for the recognition our members deserve. We remind members that the Senate budget is not law, and the House must release their version. It is anticipated that the House version may be friendlier, but we will have to wait and see. We should see that document sometime by late July.
Summary of Senate Budget Proposal relevant to Educators.
The senate budget proposal funds a 3 percent average pay increase for teachers over 2 years (1.5% for 2021-22 and 1.5% for 2022-2023.)
All state employees, including teachers, making below $75,000 would qualify for a one- time bonus of $1500.00. For those employees earning over $75,000 annually, the pay would be $1000.00. This bonus pay would be allocated by using Federal Covid relief funds.
Principals would also receive the average 3 percent base pay increase and an $1800.00 bonus, also paid for through federal Covid relief funds.
In addition, a $300.00 per teacher bonus would be provided from performance-based funds that were not utilized last year because of the pandemic. All teachers would receive this one-time bonus.
For Non-certified or classified personnel, the Senate budget proposes a minimum wage of $13 per hour. This would also include cafeteria staff and bus drivers.
The Senate proposal allocates $40.9 million in funding to ensure each district can employ a school psychologist. This proposal was also in the 2019 budget that was vetoed and was never passed into law.
For Capital needs, the Senate budget plan funds the State Capital and Infrastructure plan (SCIF) so that within the next decade, $12 billion in funding would be available for building needs and improvements statewide.
The budget proposal also includes money to address deficiencies in rural broadband access by funding the GREAT program (Growing Rural Economies with Access to Education) to the amount of $30 million dollars over the upcoming biennium.
Other Education Expenditures
The Senate budget proposes to spend $20 million to ensure that all qualifying schools would be allocated $400 per pupil in federal relief dollars.
The budget proposal spends $37.5 million to provide for professional development regarding reading and the science of reading programs.
The budget proposes to spend $36 million to cover various Covid related needs regarding enrichment, learning loss, summer school and before and after school programs during the instructional calendar.
The Senate Budget eliminates the Innovative School District.