Superintendents Urge Lawmakers To Find Better Way To Fund Raises

Jun 4, 2014

Superintendents of Union County Schools (Mary Ellis, left), Gaston County Schools (Jeff Booker), Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (Beverly Emory) and CMS (Heath Morrison, right) say senate's proposal to pay for teacher pay raises could hurt schools.
Credit Lisa Miller / WFAE

Several superintendents of North Carolina’s largest school districts worry teacher raises may come at the expense of the classroom.  The State Senate has approved a budget that would raise teacher pay on average 11 percent.  But it would pay for that in part by cutting the number of teacher assistants in half.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Beverly Emory said at a press conference today losing those assistants could stall the state’s efforts to make sure kids are reading at grade-level. 

“It will take us a couple years to catch up to the standards, but our people can do it.  If we’re robbed of the resources, then our kids are the ones who then travel from third grade to twelfth grade behind for the rest of their career,” said Emory.    

The state already cut hundreds of teacher assistant positions last year. 

The Senate’s budget would also reduce money for bus transportation and keep the number of teachers steady, despite lawmakers’ plans to hire more.

Emory along with superintendents of Charlotte Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Union County Schools urged state lawmakers to find a better way to pay for teacher raises.  They said the state’s economy is turning around and lawmakers should be willing to start adding back money to education that was cut during the recession. 

The governor’s plan includes more modest raise for teachers.  The House is now working on its budget.