Officials: Money from lottery won't help teacher pay

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Charlotte area teachers are outraged after learning a plan to give them pay raises is full of holes.

N.C. Lottery: Where the money goes
 
Lawmakers in the House approved a budget last week that was supposed to give 5 percent raises to teachers.
 
Lawmakers said increased revenue from the North Carolina Education Lottery would fund the raises but Eyewitness News reporter Tina Terry talked to lottery officials who said they warned key lawmakers they couldn't bring in that extra money.
 
In order to give those raises, the education lottery would have to spend more money on advertising and sell more lottery tickets.
 
The lottery's director didn't think that was possible and she said she warned lawmakers but they voted to support the plan anyway.
 
The education lottery would have to sell $106 million worth of tickets in order to give North Carolina teachers a pay raise under the House's proposed budget.
 
It was a plan Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher Charles Smith supported.
 
“I thought, ‘Wow, somebody actually appreciates us at 5 percent.  You're not going to ask us to give up longevity, not going to ask us to give up career status. Wow, somebody actually appreciates us again,” Smith said.
 
But on Thursday, he learned something some lawmakers may have known before they voted.
 
New advertising restrictions imposed by lawmakers would keep them from meeting the $106 million in additional earnings, lottery officials said in statement.
 
Director Alice Garland said she warned Rep. Nelson Dollar who sits on the House Appropriations Committee but House leaders still moved forward with the plan and they passed it.
 
Rep. Kelly Alexander of Charlotte said he voted against the budget. 
 
“When I looked at it, it didn't appear to be balanced or anything other than smoke and mirrors,” Alexander said.
 
He said if the budget fell short, those raises would be at risk.
 
Smith said they are frustrated and feel deceived by their representatives.
 
The House and Senate are currently coming together trying to find a compromise between their two budgets.
 
They could finalize and vote in about a week.