N.C. Senator Gene McLaurin released the following statement on Monday, regarding the Senate’s budget and the raise in teacher pay.
“Despite serious reservations about some aspects of the Senate budget, today I stood with teachers in my district and voted Yes. I’ll be the first to admit that this is far from a perfect budget, but we face a teacher pay crisis in N.C. that has ranked us at 47th in the nation. This is a disgrace, especially for a state that was once regarded as one of the best in education nationwide. I have met with teachers in their schools and in their homes across our five-county area who have been forced to take on second and third jobs, teachers who cannot afford to make repairs to their car or have a medical procedure done, because our state has misplaced our priorities.
Make no mistake, the teacher crisis we face was caused by the misguided priorities of some here in Raleigh. But today I had a chance to deliver on a promise I made to teachers — to raise teacher pay significantly — with an end goal of bringing teacher pay to the national average. This budget will increase teacher salaries by $5,800 on average. The starting salary for a beginning teacher increases to $33,000 as opposed to $30,000. I will not kick the can down the road — we must address teacher pay now. In addition to teacher pay, our state employees are due for a raise as well, and this budget accomplishes that by bringing up the average state employee pay by $1,000 with benefits. The budget also prioritizes early childhood education, our community colleges, and university funding.”