Gov. Roy Cooper introduced his budget on March 1, 2017, at Durham Tech. It includes major investments in our public schools: teacher and administrator raises; new pre-K slots; a scholarship program for future teachers; and more.
The budget proposal includes plans to raise North Carolina to a Top 10 educated state by 2025. Highlights include:
- A 5% average teacher pay increase each year for the next 2 years, so that NC teacher pay in 1st in the Southeast in three years and at the national average in 5 years.
- A $20 million fund to support an average 6.5% increase in state-funded pay for principals and assistant principals, including an experience-based step increase.
- Salary increases of 2% or $800 (whichever is greater) for permanent, full-time state employees not on the teacher pay schedule, along with a one-time $500 bonus for those employees.
- Funding for 2,400 new pre-K slots over each of the next 2 years, with the goal of increasing pre-K participation to 55% by 2025.
- A new program to replace NC Teaching Fellows. NC Best & Brightest would consist of $10,000 per year college loans, which will be forgiven for those who pledge to teach in NC public schools for 4 years, or in low-performing or low-wealth schools for 3 years.
- An annual $150 stipend for teachers to buy supplies at the start of the school year.
- A fund of $10 million for intensive planning and coaching support for teachers, principals, superintendents and central office staff in low-performing schools in order to improve student achievement.
- Creates Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC), a three-year pilot program in five LEAs that aims to improve health and academic outcomes by bringing schools, health agencies, parents and communities together in a State Board of Education-administered program.
- Establishes a position within the Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Charter Schools provide quality oversight of the growing number of charter schools on behalf of the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Charter Schools Advisory Board (CSAB).
- Phases out the Opportunity Scholarship program so that current recipients do not lose their scholarships, but future state investment targets the public schools.