RALEIGH, N.C. -- Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis announced a budget deal Tuesday that includes an average seven percent pay raise for North Carolina teachers.
WTVD reports that the $21.25 billion deal would mean teachers would average a raise of about $3,500.
Teacher groups call Tillis and Berger's announcement “politics,” pointing to budget details that tell a different story.
“Very few teachers will get that seven percent raise,” said Ann Petitjean with the Forsyth County Association of Educators.
Petitjean says it comes down to longevity pay -- something all state employees get except teachers who've been cut by lawmakers.
“Teachers who've been teaching for 25 years [for example], they will no longer get a longevity check,” Petitjean said. “So if they are making a 4.5 percent longevity check their raise will only be 2.5 percent to equal that 7 percent.”
This is the largest teacher raise in state history, Berger and Tillis said. The raise would move North Carolina from 46th to 32nd nationally in teacher pay rankings.
Additionally, the plan will not cut teacher assistant positions, as earlier budget plans had threatened to do.
The budget will also boost early-career teacher pay by 14 percent over the next two years to $35,000.
Educators say to give a real raise would involve restoring longevity pay on top of a raise. Tillis and Berger did not respond to comment Tuesday evening on restoring teacher longevity pay.