WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The new state budget plan leaves teachers asking questions.
Republican leaders said yesterday the proposal will give educators their largest pay hike in state history, but some teachers may not see the change.
The state budget plan Republican leaders released Wednesday shows a seven-percent increase for teacher salaries. North Carolina Association of Educators Vice President Mark Jewell says that's not really the case.
"It's incorrect to say it's a seven-percent increase, and it's certainly not the largest increase that teachers have seen in North Carolina," Jewell said.
The new pay schedule for teachers would increase beginning salaries from $30,800 to around $33,000.
"While it is a bump for beginning teachers, which we have whole-heartedly been advocating for, it lops off the top pay of teachers, our most veteran teachers," Jewell said.
The big question is at the other end of the pay scale, where veteran teachers will see relatively little increase if any at all. From years 25 through 30, the salary is frozen at $50,000, and longevity pay only kicks in at year 31 when you're eligible to retire.
"This is a plan of "Hunger Game,'" Jewell said. "It's robbing Peter to pay Paul."
Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says Republican leaders took money from Health and Human Services to fund these raises.
"Even having done so, there is not enough money there to support the teacher salary increase," she said by phone from Raleigh today. "It's not equal for all teachers. At the end of the day public education and Health and Human Services are the biggest losers."
Now Jewell has a bigger concern.
"This is not going to move us towards the national average," he said. "That will not recruit teachers from other states."
Hamilton says the Democrats in the House and the Senate did not have any input in this plan.
We reached out to the Republican leadership, but they have not responded to our requests.