N.C. Today: Education chief focus of Gov. McCrory's budget proposal
On the opening day of the North Carolina General Assembly, Gov. Pat McCrory proposed a $20.99 billion budget that includes pay raises for teachers and state employees.
Unlike McCrory's previous recommendation, which would only increase pay for new teachers, today's proposal would give teachers with more than seven years' experience a salary increase of 2% to 4.3%. Teachers who have taught less than seven years would get a 7.1% increase, bringing the base pay for teachers to $33,000, from $30,800 now.
State employees would receive an average 2% salary increase.
The budget calls for community colleges to receive an additional $16.8 million to train workers in fields such as engineering, advanced manufacturing and health sciences that offer promising job prospects. However, the governor's plan reduces the budget for the UNC system by about 2%.
Also included in the governor's budget is funding for 19 additional positions in the state Department of Natural Resources to oversee coal-ash ponds.
The governor estimates the state's Medicaid shortfall, once expected to be as high as $131 million, will come in around $70 million. McCrory suggests adding $50 million to state reserves as a cushion if spending on the government's health insurance program for low-income citizens exceeds projections.