Tug-of-war continues in Raleigh over teachers' pay raise

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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RALEIGH, N.C. —

Disagreement is growing in Raleigh, with seemingly no end in sight.
 
The House and Senate cannot agree about how much to raise teacher pay.
 
Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he will veto the Senate's plan, which includes an 11 percent pay raise for teachers, or any plan that resembles it.
 
 McCrory said he has moved from proposing a 3 percent raise to a 6 percent raise for teachers. He said Thursday that financially, the state could not sustain anymore.
 
Few are watching budget talks in Raleigh more closely than Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison.
 
"We have to respond to whatever the state does," Morrison said.
 
And right now, the district is in limbo.
 
CMS will not know if further cuts or more county dollars are needed to match teacher pay raises from the state until legislators make a deal.
 
"I love the idea of our teachers getting an 11 percent raise," Morrison said. "But clearly, I'm not supportive of making huge cuts to K-12 in order to fund it."
 
That 11 percent is a sticking point for the Senate.
 
Sen. Phil Berger said his chamber's plan is a "serious effort to compromise."
 
It still gives teachers an 11 percent pay raise without requiring teachers to give up tenure and it fully funds teacher assistant positions. 
 
It is unclear where the Senate would get the money to pay for such a raise.
 
The governor fired back saying, "I will veto the latest Senate plan or any plan that resembles it because I know of no financial way we can go beyond the House proposal without eliminating thousands of teacher assistants, cutting Medicaid recipients and putting at risk future core state services."
 
McCrory supports the House plan, which House Speaker Thom Tillis said would raise teacher pay by an average of 6 percent. That is up from the original 5 percent proposal without using as much money from lottery revenue. 
 
The House has never proposed cutting teacher assistants.
 
Morrison was in Raleigh Wednesday getting ready to speak to lawmakers during a budget meeting when senators walked, arguing that House members weren't following the rules.
 
"I'm going to be optimistic that our political leaders come together and I will be in Raleigh whenever I'm asked and hopefully people will stay in the room," Morrison said.
 
Morrison said several senators approached him Wednesday to make sure he knew their move wasn't personal.
 
Budget talks are expected to continue Friday in Raleigh.

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