by: Jim Bradley Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. - For most of his first year in office, NC Gov. Pat McCrory has been at odds with educators. Years of cuts to the education budget and years without pay raises have strained their relationship.
Tuesday in Raleigh, the governor did his best to get back on the good side of teachers.
McCrory announced he'll push for across-the-board pay raises for teachers as part of his 2014 legislative agenda.
"Teachers in NC have had one raise in the last five or six years. That's unacceptable to me. That's why we're going to get teachers' raises done this year," McCrory said.
Specifics of the governor's education plan haven't been released yet, but he offered a framework. All K-12 teachers would receive some pay raise. Starting pay for teachers would rise. Increases would also go to high performing teachers and those in in-demand subjects like science and math.
Education groups reacted cautiously Tuesday.
"It's a nice gesture, but we would like to see more and we would like to have seen it earlier," Marcus Bass of the N.C. Association of Educators said.
Bass said McCrory should have supported pay raises last year. Instead, he says, the state's education budget suffered significant cuts, he said.
At the NC Classroom Teachers Association, Judy Kidd says it's about time teachers in NC, whose pay ranks near the bottom in the United States, got a raise. "The days of missionaries have long passed and we should be paid as the professionals that we are," Kidd said.
The McCrory administration would comment on suggestions from the NCAE that raises of 1 to 2 percent are being considered. A McCrory spokesman says details of the governor's education plan will be unveiled in the coming weeks.