Governor’s Budget Includes 8.5% Average Pay Raise for Teachers and Master’s Degree Pay Increase

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper unveiled $34.5 billion budget plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-25 on Wednesday, proposing an additional $1 billion for public education, including an average 8.5% salary increase for teachers, a $1,500 retention bonus, and reinstatement of master’s pay.

The budget package features a 5% raise for most state workers, including non-certified school staff and community college employees.

In his announcement, Cooper emphasized the need for investing in North Carolina’s public schools rather than focusing on tax cuts and expanding private school vouchers.

“That’s the billion-dollar choice,” Cooper emphasized during his press briefing in Raleigh. “We have the revenue to make these investments — it’s all about priorities.”

Following his declaration of a state of emergency for public education, Cooper proclaimed 2024 as “The Year of Public Schools.”

His budget initiative was introduced on the inaugural day of the “short session”, providing lawmakers the chance to amend the two-year budget passed previously. With a Republican supermajority in this session, the GOP will influence financial and policy decisions.

North Carolina’s surplus in state revenues is projected at $1.4 billion through FY 2025, as per the latest state consensus revenue forecast. This surplus provides legislators with the opportunity to allocate additional funds during the short session.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, expressed his intention to allocate an extra $300 million to the Opportunity Scholarship program. The initiative widened during the previous session, offering vouchers to all families regardless of income.

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