After Gov. Pat McCrory announced his intentions to sign a $21.25 billion state budget, Superintendent Stuart Blount was glad to hear that it’ll come with increases for teachers.
“I think the increase for classroom teachers is very well deserved,” Blount said.
But the superintendent for Clinton City Schools hopes it does not stop there.
“There’s still work to be done in that area,” he said.
More than $280 million will go towards more payments for teacher, which is near 7 percent.
The legislators’ action will make the increase the largest in state history and would push North Carolina from 46th to 32nd, in teacher pay rankings. Among Southeastern states, North Carolina will move from ninth to fourth.
Blount said it’s well overdue, but it’s not where it should be.
“I hope that it’s not the end and that we don’t go back to freezing teacher salaries,” Blount said.
Although, Blount is OK with the increase, there are still other aspects of the budget that the district will have to work with.
Like other school districts across the state, they’ll have to crunch the numbers once they receive all of them from the North Carolina Department of Instruction.
“That’s just one piece of the puzzle,” he said. “The budget has been approved, but a lot of people have to look at it and go through the numbers.”
One issue is a 22 percent decrease in allotment for teacher assistants. That amount equates to about $200,000.
Previously, Blount mentioned the possibility of job cuts after the commissioners made a proposal for a five percent budget cut. That idea was eliminated after community leaders voiced their concern about it.
“We’re very appreciative of what the commissioners did and the services we’ll be able to provide for students,” he said.
But it’s still uncertain if the district will have to slash a few jobs or not.
“We’re doing everything we can not to do that,” Blount said.
In short order, school officials will be busy finalizing budget numbers, but Blount is looking forward school doors opening on Monday, Aug. 25.
“We’re looking forward to getting the school year started,” he said. “The kids are going to get a top-notch educational experience.”