As the State House and Senate are working on a final budget, education funding is taking center stage. But some teacher groups aren't satisfied with the current negotiations. The North Carolina Association of Educator's "Teacher Truth Tour" lobbied in Greensboro Monday for more funding for public schools.
Lawmakers say education is a priority in the new budget. They're considering a proposal that would give some teachers up to a five percent boost in pay. They're also planning to increase slots for pre-K programs.
Education funding already makes up more than half of the state budget. But Mark Jewell, with NCAE, says that's not enough.
“They [the legislature] have increased education funding but what they are not telling you is that we have 17,000 extra students since last year, while they are sitting on millions of dollars in surplus that need to be going into our schools,” says Jewell.
Meanwhile, education leaders say they will continue to lobby for cost of living raises for all employees. Something they say they haven't been given since the recession.
“Our teacher assistants, our custodial staff, our bus drivers, what we call our classified staff are continuing to suffer greatly because they're not having a cost of living increase either and a lot of them are qualifying for social service assistance,” says Ronda Mays, a school social worker and president of the Forsyth County Association of Educators.
Lawmakers hope to reach a budget deal before the fiscal year ends on June 30.
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