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Apodaca joins leaders announcing 11% teacher pay raise

State Sen. Tom Apodaca State Sen. Tom Apodaca

State Sen. Tom Apodaca joined Senate leaders on Wednesday who announced a dramatic new pay proposal that would give teachers an 11 percent pay raise in exchange for giving up tenure.

Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville and a top Senate budget drafter, said the Senate budget proposal unveiled in a news conference on Wednesday would give teachers the biggest pay raise in state history. The Senate budget would allocate up to $468 million for the pay raises. Apodaca said the money would come from a variety of sources, including some funds held back last year and as a result of lower than expected school enrollment. He said none would come from counties through the property tax, a funding source that one bill introduced in the House would use.
Gov. Pat McCrory paid for a smaller proposed teacher pay raise by cutting 2 percent from the UNC system budget. Apodaca said the Senate budget treats all levels of education better — holding UNC system and community colleges at no worse than the current year's level.

The proposed Senate budget calls for significant cuts, too, in education and elsewhere — slashing money for teaching assistants by half and funding the aides for kindergarten and first-grade only, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. It also would cut the state Department of Public Instruction, the administration headquarters that runs school policy statewide, by 30 percent, or $15 million.

And it would cut the state Justice Department by 58 percent, from $82.3 million to $34 million, costing the department 638 jobs. Some of those jobs move to the Department of Public Safety. Under a separate bill, the Senate wants to move the State Bureau of Investigation from the Justice Department to Public Safety, essentialy from the control of the attorney general to the governor.

“For 75 years an independent SBI has without bias rooted out corruption in the executive and legislative branches,” Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is eyeing a run against Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016, said in a statement Wednesday night. “With this move the legislature protects itself and the Governor at the expense of government integrity, and ignores North Carolina law enforcement’s opposition.”

Apodaca, who is co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education/Higher Education, joined other budget writers at the news conference announcing the budget.

“By ensuring over 90 percent of dollars for public school pay raises go directly to teachers, we are prioritizing those who have the greatest impact on student performance and providing a major incentive for them to stay in the classroom,” Apodaca said in a news release.

Here is a story from the News & Observer:






The average salary increase would be $5,809 for teachers, depending on their seniority. 

"This is a significant step in addressing what has been a problem in North Carolina," said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.