In their big press conference yesterday, Phil Berger & the Bergerettes loudly proclaimed that they were going to provide the largest teacher pay raise ever in North Carolina's history. When asked how they would pay for it, they were...er...much less loud.
During a news conference Tuesday, Senate leaders bragged that their spending plan would be the largest pay increase for teachers in the state's history. But they declined to say at the time how they would fund that pay boost without a tax increase.
Today we see why they weren't telling how they plan to fund the teacher raises: they want to slash teacher assistants and slash other education funding to pay for teacher raises.
Budget documents released late Wednesday night give details of the spending plan and suggest that cuts to teaching assistants in early-grade classrooms will pay for roughly half of the salary plan.
Senate budge writers save $233.1 million a year by cutting funding for classroom teachers in kindergarten through third grade in half. The new funding formula would provide teaching assistants only in kindergarten and first grade.
Keep in mind that this is on top of last year's slashes to teacher assistants and removing class size caps. And that the NC Senate proposal requires teachers to give up career status ("tenure") in order to get the raises.
So, NC teachers: if you're willing to
- give up tenure
- give up your teacher assistant
- accept larger class sizes
- accept fewer teachers in your school
- work harder
- and generally do more with less (as if that's even possible, after years of doing more with less)
then you can get a nice raise.
Teachers deserve a nice raise. Teachers don't deserve to endure worse working conditions to get a raise.