Pay raise proposal leaves too many questions

Published 6:57 pm Friday, April 8, 2016

On April 5, Gov. Pat McCrory announced his proposal for an average 5-percent pay raise for teachers, as well as larger bonuses across the board, especially for veteran teachers.

The proposal would cost a total of approximately $415 million, according to estimates by McCrory’s office.

There is no question that North Carolina’s teachers deserve the best, including pay raises, but there’s also no question as to the General Assembly’s repeated failures to make good on these promises.

Many uncertainties remain in the proposed plan: What will “average” look like? How will legislators fund the raises? Will the General Assembly even follow through on this?

The state’s residents — and voters — should proceed with caution.

Even though the proposal looks good on paper, there needs to be a lot more investigation into it. Teachers are arguably one of the top employee groups deserving of a pay raise, especially to keep up with a rising cost of living, and it is not acceptable to make promises that cannot be kept.

McCrory’s idea is commendable, but it could also be an empty promise to boost voter morale during an election year.

Either way, if changes are made, Beaufort County teachers will be affected. Now is the time to demand answers. Teachers need to know how this proposal will play out. Teaching assistants also need to know what it means for them.

Are there any provisions to give the assistants raises, as well? Legislators should not award teachers at the expense of the assistants who work just as hard.

As Beaufort County educators well remember, the legislature’s budget talks last summer placed teaching assistant jobs in jeopardy in exchange for a plan to hire more teachers, but that idea quickly went sour, as the disadvantages outweighed the advantages.

Legislators work for the people who elect them, and that includes educators, too. McCrory should be held accountable for the ideas he proposes and fill in the blanks for those who most deserve an answer.