Raleigh -- North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper - Cooper’s Plan Gets North Carolina to Best in the Southeast in Teacher Pay in 4 years, Proposes a Strong Education Bond to Build and Renovate Schools
Mar 5, 2019
Governor Roy Cooper today proposed a plan to raise teacher pay and a strong education bond to benefit schools from kindergarten through college.
Gov. Cooper outlined his plan while speaking to middle school educators at a conference in Greensboro and will provide more details in his upcoming proposed state budget.
“North Carolina ranks 37th in teacher pay, and that’s not good enough,” Gov. Cooper said. “We need to put our schools first, and that starts with paying teachers and principals better and treating them like the professionals they are."
Better Pay for Educators
The governor’s plan puts North Carolina on a path to become best in the Southeast in teacher pay in four years. Teachers would see an average pay raise of 9.1% over two years with no teacher receiving less than a 3% raise in either year.
The plan eliminates salary plateaus for veteran teachers, allowing teachers with up to 30 years of service to earn more for each year of service. Under the current teacher pay plan enacted by legislators, teachers who keep working beyond 15 years receive only one pay raise of $2,000 after their 24th year of service.
In addition, Gov. Cooper proposes restoring extra pay for teachers who hold a master’s degree in the subject they teach and eliminating the requirement that teachers pay for their own substitutes when they take a personal leave day.
Gov. Cooper’s plan also provides experience-based raises for school principals. Principals would earn more based on both experience as a principal and the size of the student body they lead. The plan also restores salary supplements for principals who hold advanced degrees.
To invest in better schools from kindergarten through college as well as to improve other critical infrastructure, Gov. Cooper proposes putting a bond worth $3.9 billion to a vote of the people.
“A bond is the smartest way to invest in school construction and renovation and other critical needs without causing harmful cuts elsewhere. With a school bond, we’ll get hammers swinging all across the state and still be able to afford good teachers and principals,” Gov. Cooper said.
The proposed bond would include $3.1 billion for education efforts, including $2 billion for K-12 public schools statewide, $500 million each for facility improvements at community colleges and University of North Carolina System institutions, and $100 million in the NC History Museum and the NC Zoo.
Also included in the bond proposal would be $800 million to invest in clean water through local water and sewer projects.
A bond is a fiscally responsible option for making these investments, offering stability for school districts, colleges and universities, and local governments planning their budgets. It also allows the people of North Carolina the chance to voice their opinion on making these public investments.
Future Teachers, Safer Schools
Gov. Cooper’s budget offers $5 million to recruit, retain, and support quality teachers and $5.3 million for more professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders. To bring more good teachers into the profession, Gov. Cooper plans to invest $4 million to expand the Teaching Fellows program to include more universities and more types of teachers.
To keep schools safe and students healthy, the governor’s budget provides $40 million to hire more school nurses, counselors, psychologists, social workers and school resource officers. His budget also includes $15 million for safety improvements and training at K-12 schools. Both recommendations were endorsed in a report issued last month by a special school safety committee headed by local sheriffs.
The governor’s plan also includes $29 million in new funding for schools to purchase more textbooks, digital resources, instructional supplies, and enhanced digital learning opportunities for students.
“Public education is our most important job as a state, and we must do better,” Gov. Cooper said. “Better pay for educators, safe, modern school buildings, and opportunities for students to learn and stay healthy are critical to our state’s future and we must invest in them.”