Last updated: August 01. 2014 2:01AM - 676 Views
By Sen. Brent Jackson

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As you may have read or seen in the news recently, the House and Senate have reached a general agreement on a budget for the short session.

The final version will provide public school educators a seven percent raise on average – working out to about $3,500 per teacher. This constitutes a $282 million investment, making it the largest teacher pay raise in state history and moving North Carolina from 46th to 32nd in national teacher pay rankings and from 9th to 4th place among southeastern states.

It will also preserve teacher assistant positions, protect classroom funding and continue to give superintendents broad flexibility to tailor classroom spending to their districts’ needs.

In addition to the teacher pay raise and preservation of classroom funds, the budget agreement will:

• Reform and replace an archaic 37-step teacher pay system with a six-step schedule and a transparent compensation package;

• Preserve current Medicaid eligibility;

• Provide most state employees a $1,000 pay raise and five bonus vacation days;

• Increase pay for step-eligible Highway Patrol Troopers between five and six percent;

• Maintain funding at current levels for the state’s university system; and

• Fulfill the commitment to extend supplemental pay for teachers with Master’s degrees who have completed at least one course in a graduate program as of Aug. 1, 2013.

The budget will also boost early-career teacher pay by 14 percent over the next two years to $35,000 – making North Carolina a leader in the Southeast and fulfilling a promise made by state leaders in February.

Longevity Pay

There has been some misinformation circulated regarding how this budget proposal will affect teachers’ longevity pay.

Contrary to many of the claims being made, our budget will provide a 7 percent pay increase (on average) on top of a teacher’s current salary, including longevity pay. Teachers will still receive the longevity pay dollars, but they will be rolled into their base salary and paid monthly, rather than in a lump sum at the end of the year.

No matter how our opponents try to spin this, the mathematical bottom line remains the same: teachers will receive 7 percent more money, on average, than they did before.

I am happy to answer any questions regarding longevity pay or any other aspect of our budget proposal and I sincerely hope that you will contact my office for more information.

The full budget compromise bill will be posted to the North Carolina General Assembly website at www.ncleg.net by midnight tonight.

District Headlines

Sampson Board of Education Approves MOU for STEM Academy

Early this spring the Sampson County Board of Education unanimously approved a one-year memorandum of Understanding for a STEM Academy. A STEM Academy is a high-school that specializes in the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The school will be based out of Sampson Community College and will accept applications from juniors and seniors throughout the county.

Classes are scheduled to start on August 6th, and will continue through the regular school year. Students will take an early morning class, report back to their regular schools, and then return for an evening class later that day. Currently there are eight people enrolled in the program and the Academy allows up to thirty students. Each district is allowed a certain number of spots. The selected students were required to apply for the academy. The selection process is similar to the application process for Sampson Early College High School.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative in the North Carolina Senate. I read every email that comes to my legislative account and I encourage you to reach out to me with your thoughts and concerns. If you would like to stay informed of my actions in the legislature, I encourage you to friend me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter. If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, please email my legislative assistant, Acy Watson at jacksonbla@ncleg.net.

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