Governor McCrory pitches teacher pay increase in budget proposals

Gov. Pat McCrory presents his education budget proposals in a press conference at Ragsdale High School in

Gov. Pat McCrory presents his education budget proposals in a press conference at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, N.C.

JAMESTOWN – Gov. Pat McCrory today announced several education-related proposals to his upcoming budget, including increases to average teacher pay in North Carolina as well as plans to modernize classrooms, expand funding for special needs students, upgrades to community college practices and equipment, and expand college access.

Speaking at Ragsdale High School, his high school alma mater in Jamestown, N.C., McCrory covered several aspects of his educational proposals for his yet-to-be released budget proposal, including his plans to increase the average teacher pay in the state via a 5 percent pay increase.

“Two years ago, when I announced a significant teacher pay raise plan right here at Ragsdale, I promised that we would not stop there,” McCrory said. “Today, I am following through on that promise and introducing an aggressive education budget that will bring average teacher pay to more than $50,000 for the first time in state history.”

According to a release from the governor’s office, the proposed pay increase, factoring in the full-time teacher health and retirement benefits in the state, would make the average teacher compensation in N.C. eclipse $66,000.

Among other proposals, the governor also says he wants to bring Wi-Fi capability to 66 percent of the classrooms in the state to 66 percent by the end of the year and to 100 percent by 2018.

“We have to continue our effort to modernize our classrooms and make our classrooms have the teaching tools needed for the 21st century,” McCrory said. “The fact of the matter is this is the way we’re going to be reaching kids so they can obtain information not that’s just available in this library but information that’s available throughout the world. It’s got to be at their fingertips. And the fact of the matter is we still have schools within North Carolina that do not have basic Wi-Fi capability in reaching them. From the east to the west and even some counties in the piedmont area. Only 22 percent of students (in North Carolina) had access to Wi-Fi in 2012.”

The governor is expected to release more details on his teacher pay plan and education investments when he unveils his budget proposal later in April.