Gov. Cooper releases plan to raise NC teacher pay

In the shorter term, it would lock in pay raises of 5 percent during each of the next two budget years.

While Cooper said his plan won't require a tax hike, he has said recently that raises for educators and other priorities would require sacrificing tax cuts that Republican lawmakers have promised.

Cooper was in Charlotte Monday, where he announced that he plans to include 5 percent raises for teachers in each of the next two years in his budget proposal as part of a plan to increase North Carolina's average teacher salary to the national average in five years. During that time teachers would get average raises of 10 percent. But Republicans say Democrats are ignoring average salary growth under GOP rule in Raleigh and teacher salary freezes by Democrats when they were in charge during the recession.

The topic is expected to be one of the areas where the new Democrat Governor Cooper and the Republican-led General Assembly can find some common ground as Republicans work on another year to fulfill a promise started in 2014 to bring teacher salaries up.

"These aren't just investments in our teachers, they are investments in our children's future", Cooper said. "My proposal is a serious, multi-year increase in teacher salaries that will get us to the national average so we can show our teachers the respect they deserve".

Cooper's proposal is included in his upcoming budget that will be presented to the legislature.

Several lawmakers view budget announcements from the governor's office with skepticism. This summer it would drop to 28 members as House and Senate elect fewer candidates for the posts. Beverly Purdue. Republicans say Perusse contributed to the state's economic problems they inherited when taking office in 2011. With veto-proof majorities, Republicans can choose to ignore Cooper's ideas if they want in drafting their own budget.

"Gov. Cooper's two-year teacher pay proposal is a significant step toward restoring respect back to the profession and making North Carolina a teacher destination state once again". House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Kings Mountain, hasn't cited a specific figure.

Cooper's budget proposal would bring average salaries to more than $52,000 in 2017-18 and almost $55,000 in 2018-19. The General Assembly appropriations sub-committees are already gearing up, meeting on other proposals.

  • Larry Hoffman