Eastern Carolina teachers react as Gov. Cooper calls for pay raise

Eastern Carolina teachers react as Gov. Cooper calls for pay raise
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:50 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Teachers across North Carolina could potentially be impacted over the next two years after Governor Cooper proposed a new budget.

“I think it’s great,” said Mario Blanchard, the Pitt County Educators Association President.

“This budget we’re presenting today meets the moment. It recognizes that historic investments in education and childcare are needed now to make sure we have the well-trained workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Cooper.

Cooper says the budget would provide funds for the North Carolina school system for higher pay and more learning opportunities.

“The major motive of my budget is strengthening with historic investments from cradle to career. We can and should make good on the constitutional guarantee on a sound basic education to create opportunity for everybody,” said Cooper.

North Carolina educators are responding.

“I can probably relax a little bit more and don’t have to worry about pinching pennies quite so much,” said Blanchard.

But some Republican lawmakers have their concerns.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore says, “Now Governor Cooper is proposing a budget that effectively eliminates the tax cuts that will help North Carolinians make ends meet and have attracted families and businesses to our state.”

Teachers at all experience levels would get a minimum raise of 10% in the budget’s first year, including step increases. Their average raises of 18% over the entire two-year budget would take North Carolina from 32nd in the nation in teacher pay to 16th in National Education Association rankings, according to Cooper.

All school employees would also get retention bonuses: $1,500 for those making less than $75,000 a year and $1,000 for those making more.