House to decide on proposed budget

by: Paige Hansen Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - State lawmakers on Thursday are just hours away from an expected vote to approve the first version of the budget this short session that's expected to go to the governor's desk.

If it's passed, no teacher will make less this year than they did last year.

LINK: Proposed House budget

But, some teachers will make much more or much less than the average 7 percent raise proposed by lawmakers.

Debbie Rubenstein has two daughters in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

"I would say I'm fanatical about this issue," Rubenstein said.

She and other CMS parents have been vocal this short session, worried what might happen if teachers don't get pay raises.

"We formed a group called Public School Friends for the sole purpose of advocating for teacher pay raises," Rubenstein said.

The budget proposal details the state's salary schedule plan, which groups and pays teachers according to years of experience.

A teacher with five years of experience will now get the same pay as a teacher with nine years.

Longevity pay, normally given each year to teachers with 10 or more years in the classroom, will be eliminated to help pay for raises for all teachers.

Teachers with extra qualifications could get more money.

Raises will range from about 2 to more than 18 percent with an average of 7 percent.

"While it's not exactly what we want, it's not exactly what we deserve. For eight years we really haven't had any movement on our salaries, so for this to happen is a big win," Cameron Campbell, who resigned yesterday as a CMS math teacher said.

He's leaving for a much higher paying private sector job.

Even if he knew the 7 percent raises would go through, he said he doesn't see a financial future in teaching, a career path he said he will miss.

"That's why I became an educator. To walk into a room and see a bunch of kids that are as excited to see me as I am to see them," Campbell said.

Parents like Rubenstein know good teachers are leaving.

"Right now we are still able to support public schools financially. I think for that to continue. People need to stay involved," Rubenstein said. 

The state will use $113 million in education lottery revenue to pay for teacher assistant positions.

That's a $60 million cut statewide but it's not yet known how that cut will affect individual districts.