Raleigh, NC (STL.News) Today, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper heard from local educators in a roundtable discussion at North Buncombe Elementary School. The discussion focused on the need for a significant teacher pay raise and adequate classroom resources and infrastructure to effectively teach students. After the roundtable, Gov. Cooper toured the school and joined students at an afterschool program that serves students across Buncombe County.
“Investing in our children requires investing in our teachers, and our educators deserve to be paid like the professionals they are,” said Governor Cooper. “Republicans in Raleigh need to come to the negotiating table and work with me to pass a significant teacher pay raise that will keep our state competitive in recruiting and retaining top talent.”
Teachers, like those at North Buncombe Elementary School, are well into the 2019-2020 school year without a pay raise because Republican legislators refuse to negotiate a budget compromise with Governor Cooper that would raise teacher pay. Over 90 days ago, Gov Cooper presented a detailedcompromise proposal to provide teachers an average 8.5% raise over two years with no plateaus and a raise for every teacher. The Republican budget offered teachers an average raise of 3.8% over two years – less than what every other state employee has been given.
A substantive 8.5% raise is needed to recruit and retain teaching talent, and the Republican conference budget’s suggested 3.8% raise will not keep North Carolina competitive with other states.
“Teachers would like our compensation to reflect the importance of our job, which is to give all our students the tools they will need in life to reach their full potential,” said Elizabeth Apostolopoulos, First Grade Teacher at North Buncombe Elementary School. “We hope that the state of North Carolina will begin to recognize the reality that the demands of our job are growing beyond academics to include providing a steady presence and unconditional support for students who are underserved in their communities.”
“North Carolina is full of teachers who are sharp, articulate and hard-working. They are a ready and willing “think tank” for NC policymakers,” said Stephanie Knox, Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Specialist at North Buncombe Elementary school. “My hope is that improved, intentional collaboration between policymakers and teachers who touch the lives of our NC children every single day will create structures that are supportive of student growth from the grassroots level.”