The Wire

Thom Tillis: Clueless On North Carolina Teacher Pay

Since Thom Tillis became Speaker in of the North Carolina House of Representatives, teachers have suffered. Proving his extreme conservative bona fides, Tillis’s FY2014 budget cut nearly $500 million in funding, and eliminated teacher tenure. His FY2012 budget, which was vetoed by then-Governor Bev Perdue, was projected to kill 13,000 education jobs. Now, with North Carolina’s average teacher pay ranking 46th in the nation and last in pay trends over the past decade, many teachers are leaving the state. As a result, teacher pay has become a major issue in North Carolina.

But today, we saw just how out of touch Thom Tillis is–he doesn’t even know how much a starting teacher makes in the Tar Heel State. No Thom, it’s not $50,000/year. It’s just $30,778.

BACKGROUND:

FY 2014 State Budget Eliminated Teacher Tenure And Directed Taxpayer Money To Pay For Private School Tuition. According to WRAL, “House and Senate leaders announced Sunday that they have reached an agreement on a $20.6 billion state budget that will end teacher tenure and allow taxpayer money to be spent for private school tuition. A final draft of the bill and an accompanying ‘money report’ the provides much of the detail in the budget were posted online late Sunday night. Both chambers have previously passed their own spending plans, but Republican leaders wrangled for weeks to come to a consensus even as the July 1 start of the 2013-2014 fiscal year came and went. […] Both the House and Senate are expected to give the spending plan at least tentative approval on Tuesday.” [WRAL, 7/21/13]

FY 2014 State Budget Cut Education Spending By Nearly $500 Million Over The Next Two Years. According to the Black Mountain News, “The $11.5 billion portion of the state budget set aside for public schools, community colleges and the University of North Carolina system cuts education spending by nearly $260 million this year and another $222 million next year.” [Black Mountain News, 7/23/13]

Tillis’ Proposed State Budget Spent $13 Million Less On Community Colleges And $53 Million Less On The State University System Than The Senate Budget. According to WRAL, “The House spends slightly less than Senate on education: $13 less million community college; $66 million more on K-12; $53 million less on university system in 2013-14.” [WRAL, 6/10/13]

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Tillis Passed State Budget That “Shorts Public Education.” In an editorial, the Raleigh News & Observer wrote: “The tax law set the stage for a state budget approved Wednesday that shorts public education, especially teachers.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/24/13]

The FY2012 Budget Included “Deep Cuts For Agencies Around The State,” Including 13,000 Education Jobs. According to the WCNC Charlotte, “The North Carolina legislature has sent its budget to Governor Bev Perdue’s desk, and it includes deep cuts for agencies around the state, including education. […] The budget cuts roughly 13,000 education jobs statewide, including nearly 9,300 in public schools.” [WCNC, 6/5/11]