Additional reporting by Elizabeth Friend
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board members gather Thursday night to vote on the upcoming year’s budget.
The district’s website projected posting the budget proposal late last week, but due to the delay by the North Carolina Legislature on its budget decisions, the district pushed the release date to Monday. However, the proposal, which has one hour of the nearly four-hour meeting set aside for it, wasn’t posted to the district’s website until Tuesday morning.
Many concerns swirled around the General Assembly’s budget as teaching assistants were in danger of losing their jobs. Last year, in response to state budget cuts, CHCCS hired new teaching assistants on one-year contracts that the district paid for using reserve funds. School officials said the district ran out of the reserve funds to cover the shortfall, and they waited to see what, if anything, the state would do to help pay for teaching assistants.
With the passage of the $21.1 billion state budget, teaching assistants should be safe. However, some teachers aren’t happy with the final numbers.
Though some called the new budget “historic” for putting $282 million towards education, some educators themselves have criticized the new teacher pay plan.
That’s because longevity pay, the bonus once awarded to teachers with more than ten years of experience is no longer guaranteed. Instead, the new plan caps teacher salaries at $50,000 for those with more than 25 years in the classroom and rolls longevity pay into the base salaries.
This has some long-term teachers estimating their raises at closer to 2-4 percent, while starting teachers will receive a seven-percent boost. Those with half a decade of experience could see as much as an 18-percent increase.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-still-working-budget/
JAMESTOWN, NC – Governor Pat McCrory and other state leaders announced a plan Monday morning to increase starting teachers’ salaries nearly 14 percent in the next two years, but no immediate increase was mentioned for teaching professionals already in place.
This year, starting teacher pay will increase $2,200 to $33,000; next year an additional $2,000 will be added taking salaries to $35,000.
Supplemental pay for teachers who completed their coursework for their Master’s degrees has been extended up until July 1, 2013 as well.
However, there was no discussion of raising teachers’ salaries for those who are just getting their start.
The announcement to raise incoming teachers’ salaries $4,200 in the next two years was made at Gov. McCrory’s former high school, Ragsdale, with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Senate Leader Phil Berger, and House Speaker Thom Tillis in attendance.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/gov-mccrory-announces-raise-incoming-teachers/
RALEIGH — An advocacy group representing North Carolina teachers is promising more action to resist a new state law that eliminates job protections and shifts toward performance pay.
The North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina JusticeCenter say they’ll describe their latest efforts on Wednesday. The groups say school legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year will undermine public schools.
Republicans who this year took control of most of state government after Gov. Pat McCrory’s election say their changes attempt to hold teachers and schools more accountable for student learning.
State Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County says the Obama administration has pushed states to develop teacher evaluation systems with teeth and merit pay for teachers.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/nc-teachers-group-plans-new-steps-changes/
CHAPEL HILL - Katie Gulledge and Bill Melega were selected to participate in a transatlantic teacher scholars program.
Gulledge from McDougle Middle and Bill Melega from Chapel HillHigh School were identified for their background in teaching and innovation, and chosen to participate in this international training.
The Transatlantic Teachers Scholars Program will engage twelve teachers from North Carolina and Virginia in a year-long training program that will bring narratives and events from a contested landscape to life. One of the focuses this year will be on the Meuse-ArgonneAmericanCemetery and the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of WWI.
The training includes a series of blended courses, culminating with a trip to Verdun, France in July 2014.
Duke Energy begins selective herbicide treatment on much of the low-lying vegetation in OrangeCounty the week of Sept. 23.
This work is part of Duke Energy’s system-wide vegetation maintenance program. The work includes low volume back pack herbicide applications in non-maintained rights of way. The herbicide will target sapling species that could interfere with power interruptions in the future. Some of the targeted vegetation include: woody stems, leaving grasses, and wildflowers.
Applications are not performed in areas maintained by property owners.
Hillsborough Town Board members approved a special use permit last Monday that will allow a Tractor Supply Company store to be built on NC 86 near Interstate 85.
Tractor Supply, based out of Charlotte, will construct the 19,000 square foot store with an outdoor sales area and parking lot. Currently the property is vacant and has the opportunity to support local area farmers.
With the special permit approved, the partners will continue the permitting process and may break ground by the end of the year.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/32630/
RALEIGH - Progress NC Executive Director, Gerrick Brenner says Governor Pat McCrory’s comment that this year’s education budget is the largest in North Carolina history isn’t fair to say.
“Well there’s a couple of things, one he’s not taking inflation into account, and two he’s not taking enrollment growth into account” said Brenner.
In an email, Communications Director for Gov. McCrory, Kim Genardo says the $7.86 billion for K-12 Education in this year’s budget referrers to the appropriated budget. An email sent out by ProgressNC on Thursday said, “Gov. Pat McCrory mislead the public once again about the education budget he signed into law.” It went on to say that $7.91 billion for K-12 education in ’07-’08 and $8.19 billion in ’08-’09 were greater.
However, Genardo said those numbers are actual budget, which includes additional reserves.
Still, Brenner says, taking inflation into account, the praise of the budget was misleading.
“Actually this education budget is about half a billion dollars less than it was in 2007-2008” Brenner claimed.
Some K-12 schools that received cuts to their budget have tried alternative ways to raise money. Brennar says he heard of a school in PolkCounty that held a fundraising breakfast to go towards school supplies. He also claims that this not an isolated incident.
“All you have to do is do a quick Google search and you can see news stories filtering in from across the state of counties having to cut teachers and teaching assistants” Brenner said.
Brenner says he doesn’t agree with the education budget along with other bills that the Governor passed. He says he thinks that the Governor is “twisting the truth” and is beginning to “stretch credibility.”http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/progressnc-gives-thoughts-on-education-budget/
CHAPEL HILL – Amid budget cuts in North Carolina, your local U.S. Representative, David Price’s bill entitled the Keep Teachers Teaching Act, would allow schools to apply for federal grants to develop programs that aim to keep teachers working in education.
“The strongest local districts and state systems could apply for the funds and then we would disseminate the results,” Price says.
The Congressional Research Service says that half of all K-12 teachers move to a different career after five years of being hired.
“There are many reasons for that, but my fear is that in North Carolina, those reasons have just become stronger,” Price says.
Both Congressman Price and the co-sponsor of the Keep Teachers Teaching Act, North Carolina Representative G. K. Butterfield, say the education bills they are introducing into Congress are meant to help states like North Carolina where budgets have cut back on education.
“Part of it is being diverted to public schools through vouchers, but part of it is just for a nice tax cut, mainly for wealthier people,” Price says.
Rep. Price is also co-sponsoring a bill that Rep. Butterfield introduced that would increase the federal funds for teachers who work in low-income schools.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/price-discusses-his-education-bill-on-wchl/