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The legislature adjourned Thursday, October 31, 123 days into the budget year, and we still don't have a full budget. Special thanks to our legislators and their families who sacrificed Halloween fun together (it should never have been dragged out this long) to be there to "wrap things up." I use the phrase wrap things up loosely because many things were not wrapped up.

Legislators will return briefly on Nov. 13 and then adjourn again until Jan. 14. A major priority for mid-November is redrawing congressional districts. Also up for discussion is Medicaid transformation, disaster funding, and sending the budget surplus back to taxpayers. Read more here.

Here's some interesting information from a legislative update email I got from Rob with NC Child.

the January session will come after the primary filing deadline, which  means sitting Democrats and sitting Republicans will know if they’ve got  intra-party opposition. When a lawmaker has primary opposition, they  tend to be weary of alienating their base; when they don’t have primary  opposition, they might be more likely to deviate from partisan stances  in anticipation of a general election. Depending on who has a primary  and who doesn’t, there is the potential that lawmakers will moderate  their positions on the budget and/or Medicaid expansion, which could  facilitate a deal on those topics.

Senate Bill 354 passed Thursday. (Thanks to Wake NCAE for help interpreting the bill.) Part I of the bill is Compensation of Certain Public School Employees Consistent with House Bill 966 (which is the vetoed budget). If signed into law it would guarantee a raise for some teachers. Senator Phil Berger tweeted that teachers get a 3.9% raise. The truth is that for 2019-2020, when compared to last year's salary schedule teachers with 0-15 years of experience will receive a $0/month increase. Teachers with 16-20  years of experience will receive a $50/month increase. Teachers with 21-24  years of experience will receive a $150/month increase. Teachers with 25 or more years of experience will receive a $60/month increase. For 2020-2021, teachers with 0-15 years of experience still receive a $0/month increase. Teachers with 16-20  years of experience will receive a $50/month increase. Teachers with 21-24  years of experience will receive a $50/month increase, and teachers with 25 or more  years of experience will receive a $50/month increase as compared to last year’s salary schedule. This is how we come up with a 3.9% average raise. Make sure you tweet back to Senator Berger and remind him that he left out an important detail in his tweet.

There is language in the bill for salary supplements for highly qualified NC Teaching Graduates, a one time veteran teacher bonus, assistant principal salaries, central office staff, small county signing bonus for teachers, and to consolidate and broaden qualifications for certain teacher bonuses. Read more here. I saved one of the more confusing ones for last, noncertified personnel salaries. The plan is to increase their pay by 1% per year for the next two years. However, the language says,

For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2019, the annual salary for noncertified public school employees whose salaries are supported from State funds shall be increased as follows:(1)For permanent, full-time employees on a 12-month contract, by one percent (1%).(2)For the following employees, by a prorated and equitable amount based on the amount specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection:a.Permanent,  full-time  employees  on  a contract  for  fewer  than  12 months.b.Permanent, part-time employees.c.Temporary and permanent hourly employees.

In other words, a teaching assistant or other noncertified staff, who is a 10-month employee, would receive a 0.83% raise because 10 months is 83 percent of a 12-month year. Yes, let's look again, that is whole 0.83% raise. And let's remember that despite how we've been fighting for a minimum of $15/hour for our noncertified staff, that has not been granted. So that's for 2019-2020. For 2020, Wake NCAE says they are not even guaranteed the 0.83% increase for 2020-2021 because the word shall was taken out of the language:

It  is  the  intent  of  the  General  Assembly  to  increase  the  annual salary for noncertified public school employees whose salaries are supported from State funds in the 2020-2021 fiscal year . . .

Then there's part 2 of the bill. This is the additional compensation increases and education-related provisions contingent upon the passage of House Bill 966 (which is the budget vetoed by the Governor. * In other words educators will only receive this IF House Bill 966 is signed into law.*) You can read more of the bill, but the gist is that NCGA leadership is playing games with us. They will allow the increases described in part I, but the extra is ONLY allowed if the budget becomes law. The "extra" is for 2020-2021 and is a 0.5% average increase. Of course teachers with 0-15 years experience get nothing. Teachers with 16 years or more experience would receive a $100/month increase.

There is more about central office staff and North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Tuition Grants. Finally, the noncertified personnel salaries would increase by 2% in 2019-2020 and again in 2020-2021 (of course this would be less for many because it would be prorated for 10 month employees.) There would also be bonuses for noncertified personnel:

No later than October 31, 2020, the Department of Public Instruction shall administer a one-time, lump sum bonus to any noncertified public school employee,whose salary is supported from Statefunds,equivalent to one half of one percent (0.5%) of that person's salary.

It seems to me that they are trying to divide us. Teacher against teacher (pay raises for some years of service but not others), and certified vs. noncertified (different % increases). They have already been trying to separate educators from the students and familes they serve, because we've been asking for deserved raises AND Medicaid Expansion which is a life and death matter for some that we serve.

Read more about the back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats here.

So we'll still be waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Tags: (Education, NC Budget, Veto Override, NCGA, NCPol)

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