NC budget to include teacher pay increase, money for rural schools

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The North Carolina Senate has given initial approval to a bipartisan state budget that would go into effect July 1st.

The Senate voted through the 23 billion dollar budget after its second reading.

Some of the highlights include increased teacher pay and money for school infrastructure.

North Carolina’s new budget will give teachers an average 3.3 percent increase in pay next year.

And an average 9.6 percent increase over the next two years.

Laura Piner is a high school teacher with Pitt County Schools.

Piner said, “How I look at my job is to prepare citizens to be productive members of society.”

The world history teacher said money isn’t why she got into teaching but has an impact on her life as she works a separate job.

Piner said, “That’s really the only way to exist.”

State republicans said this is a bill that meets the requests of Governor Roy Cooper.

Cooper spoke to the contrary and said, “I think it may be the most fiscally irresponsible budget I’ve ever seen.”

Governor Cooper argued the budget isn’t what republicans are sizing it up to be.

“The wealthy win, but the average middle class family loses,” said Cooper. “Education loses, economic development loses, and people struggling with opioid abuse lose.”

The budget will put 10 million dollars toward fighting opioid abuse, but North Carolina democrats said it’s just a start.

It will also use 100 million dollars from the education lottery for rural school construction projects.

As for teacher pay, Piner said she’s thinking about the future of education in North Carolina.

“It’s not going to be enough to recruit the best and the brightest into our classrooms,” she said.

The budget still needs to be passed by the House in order to go into full effect.

It is unknown if Governor Cooper will veto the budget if it is passed in the General Assembly.

Stay with WNCT throughout the week for the latest developments on the budget.

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