One Republican legislator wants to see the money available for state worker raises divided evenly this year – with an estimated $1,220 going to each employee, including teachers.
Rep. Jonathan Jordan, an Ashe County Republican, filed a budget amendment Thursday evening to make that approach the House’s plan for employee and teacher pay this year and the following year.
“That is the best investment we can make in our state employees,” Jordan said. “Stagnant wages and better options elsewhere make it difficult to retain skilled workers in our state.”
The State Employees Association of North Carolina had issued a statement Wednesday suggesting the even split of raise money, saying it would be “easily done without raising the legislature’s self-imposed spending cap and would change lives.”
House Speaker Tim Moore ruled that Jordan’s amendment was out of order and couldn’t be considered for further debate. He said the proposal violated the chamber’s budget rules that prevent the transfer of funding between subject categories.
House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson appealed Moore’s decision, which put the issue to a vote in the House. Legislators backed the speaker’s position in a 71-44 vote.
That vote killed the proposal, keeping the current House budget pay plan, which offers a $1,000 raise to most state employees with a wide variety of raises – many of them larger – for the state’s teachers. Those state workers would get an additional $1,000 raise the following year.
The House budget would provide the biggest raises to mid-career teachers, although teachers at all experience levels would get raises under the proposed salary chart. Starting pay would increase from $35,000 to $35,300, and teachers with more than 25 years of experience would get a 0.6 percent raise of $300.
While raises for some early-career teachers would be around 1 percent, the biggest raises in the House plan would go to teachers with between 17 and 19 years of experience, with raises as high as 6.7 percent, or nearly $3,000. The average teacher raise is 3.3 percent.
The House will soon negotiate its pay plan with the Senate, which has passed a budget in which state employees would get raises of either $750 or 1.5 percent of their salary, whichever is greater.
Under the teacher salaries proposed by Senate leaders, starting pay would remain at $35,000, and teachers with 25 years experience or more would not get a raise. The biggest raises – up to 4.8 percent – would go to teachers with nine to 14 years of experience. Teachers with one to three years and 20 to 24 years experience would see the smallest raises of less than 2 percent. But the Senate’s average teacher raise is slightly higher than the House proposal: 3.7 percent.