North Carolina lawmakers passed a two-year budget compromise bill that includes a large chunk for education. Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to sign off on the plan. It calls for raises and bonuses for public school employees.
Under the plan, most state employees would receive a 5% pay raise over that time period, including teachers. And classified staff like custodians and child nutrition workers would also see adjustments. The minimum wage would increase to $15 an hour.
State employees could also see bonuses. For example, teachers would receive about $2,800. There's also money earmarked for low-wealth districts, including several rural school systems to boost teacher supplements.
President of the Forsyth County Association of Educators Val Young says this is a step in the right direction, as well as a recent court ruling called Leandro that would direct nearly $2 billion back into the schools.
“There are budget cuts in there, I want to see what the budget cuts are," says Young. "And I also want to see what they are going to do with the Leandro money, so all of these things could be game changers in education, but I am satisfied that something is given to our education team.”
The Leandro school funding court battle dates back to 1994 when five low-wealth districts filed a lawsuit against the state requesting more funding for equal education in public schools.
The state budget increases in the bill will be funded using federal Covid relief dollars and the state's multi-billion-dollar reserves.
The legislature's final two-year budget bill combined is more than $52 billion.
Earlier this month, a North Carolina judge ordered the state to transfer $1.7 billion from its reserves to fund public education.
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