With our economy now getting back on track and our budgets again under control, the General Assembly has committed to a number of new initiatives to accelerate our spending in education, one of NC’s top priorities. The following are some highlights of education spending for the upcoming budget cycle:
· Continued implementation of a plan announced last year to dramatically increase teacher pay – providing teachers an average 3.3 percent raise this year and 9.6 percent raise over two years, while also ensuring they earn far more over the course of their careers.
· Provides more than $35 million to substantially increase principal and assistant principal pay, including funds for performance bonuses for principals.
· A performance-based plan to substantially increase school principal pay.
· Includes $10 million in additional compensation for community college employees.
· Increases funding for public education by nearly $700 million over two years.
· Brings total K-12 spending from a 2010 low point of $7 billion to $9.4 billion in 2019.
· Invests an additional $11 million in textbooks and digital resources and increases funding for children with disabilities.
· Codifies the legislature’s intent to use data it is currently gathering from local school systems, in accordance with state law, to fund a new salary allotment for kindergarten through fifth grade program enhancement (music, arts, physical education) teachers beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
· Supports the new N.C. Teaching Fellows Program through the N.C. Education Endowment Fund—one of the projects on which I worked.
· Provides additional assistance to community colleges for workforce training programs.