• NC governor blasts lawmakers over unapproved budget, teacher raises

    By: Elsa Gillis , Anthony Kustura

    Updated:
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper put the pressure on lawmakers to pass a budget, which includes a raise for teachers across the state. 

    Teachers are heading back to school this year without a pay raise and without a signed state budget, it's in limbo.

    "Until they get it resolved, North Carolina law says we continue with the previous year's budget," Charles Jeter, the Government Relations Coordinator for CMS, said.

    [ALSO READ: 15 states to give teachers pay raises]

    Last week, CMS employees got a note from district officials about the issue saying they are "unable to apply any salary increases and all employees will continue to be paid at their 2018-19 salary amount."

    "So you're not going to get teacher step pay increases, you're not going to get the increases we heard about in the CMS budget process, the state budget process or any of those things," Jeter said.

    That includes the local supplement increase from the county, too.

    "I think a lot of teachers," Jeter said, "When they start getting their first paychecks I think it's going to be frustrating for not just teachers, but all employees."

    Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the budget earlier this summer, saying it failed to expand Medicaid, among other concerns and lawmakers have been unable to compromise since.

    Under that budget teachers were set to get about a two percent raise, each year over the next two years.

    Cooper's budget included a more than eight percent raise for teachers over then next two years, however Republicans have only agreed to a four percent raise. 

    Cooper said there's been no compromise from GOP leaders in the two months since, and he said Republicans won't negotiate until he takes Medicaid expansion off the table. He said this will never happen. 

    He blasted Republicans Tuesday for not coming to the table when the funding is available for teacher raises. 

    "We have put forth a lot of give," Cooper said. "The Republican leadership, not one inch, short-changing teachers, stiff arming healthcare. It takes real commitment to sit down and talk about these issues and to use some honest give and take."

    Republicans responded by accusing Cooper of playing political games with education funding at the expense of children and teachers. 

    A former west Charlotte educator told Channel 9's education reporter Elsa Gillis, they better figure it out fast.

    [ALSO READ: North Carolina bill seeks to rehire retired teachers]

    "As a teacher you're not paid for what you do, you're not in the business to be paid but you should be compensated for the time you took to be an effective educator," Glenda Harris said.

    Jeter said this also means grant funding they were set to get is on hold.  He said it could be months before there's a solution.

    Friday, Cooper's office sent a statement to Channel 9 saying he proposed a budget compromise, but "Republicans have been pointing fingers and creating new ways to avoid negotiation."


    GOVERNOR COOPER'S STATEMENT:

    "Forty-six days ago, Governor Cooper proposed a balanced budget comprise. Since then, Republicans have been pointing fingers and creating new ways to avoid negotiation. Their latest idea involves a series of mini budgets and a so-called refund that would continue to starve public education for the resources our students need. Republicans have consistently shortchanged education, and now, rather than investing tax over collections into our schools, they’re doubling down on the last few years. 

    [CLICK HERE to view Governor Cooper's compromise offer]

    Instead of coming up with new ways to avoid compromising, Republican legislators should come to the table and negotiate with Governor Cooper. Where is the Republican counteroffer.

    It would close the health care coverage gap, raise teacher pay, cut taxes for people and guarantee school construction while balancing the budget and saving money in the Rainy Day Fund."


    We reached out to Senator Phil Berger's office for comment.

    [ALSO READ: Seeking to end NC budget impasse, Cooper talks to educators]

    A spokesperson sent a statement saying, lawmakers have started taking steps to break off pieces of the budget to get them passed. 


    SENATOR PHIL BERGER'S STATEMENT: 

    The General Assembly passed a budget almost two months ago that provided state employees the largest raise in over a decade and teachers their sixth and seventh consecutive raises. Unfortunately Governor Cooper chose to veto that budget and block these pay increases due to his insistence that he would not sign any budget that does not include Medicaid expansion.

    While we do have a continuing budget that funds a number of important priorities of state government, it does not include raises for state employees and teachers. That means that not only are teachers not getting the raise passed in the General Assembly’s budget, they are also not getting their annual salary step increases.

    The Senate started the process this week of moving some single budget items that are not in controversy as standalone bills, like correctional officer salaries, so they are no longer caught up as the budget stalemate continues to drag on.


    Both sides have accused one another of holding up these pay raises. 

    [CLICK HERE to view House Speaker Tim Moore's thoughts on the state budget]

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