WILLARD, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper was in the Cape Fear Tuesday afternoon to visit Penderlea School in Pender County.
The governor helped deliver school items collected through the governor’s school supply drive. He also held a round table with teachers and other school employees to hear their concerns about the need for pay raises, and how that could help them to better educate our youth.
“If we adopt the current budget that the legislature has, which is a 3.8 percent pay raise over two years, we’re going to fall behind other states,” Cooper said. “We need to get our teacher pay to at least the national average, and the compromise proposal that I have put forward is 8.5 percent over the next two years for teachers.”
It’s been 43 days since Gov. Cooper submitted a budget compromise offer to state Republican leaders, and he says he’s ready to negotiate.
“I’m ready to sit down with them anytime,” Gov. Cooper said. “We have made a compromised proposal, and we are waiting to hear back from them. What their precondition to me is before they will negotiate with me is that I have to take one of our top issues off the table, which is Medicaid expansion, and that’s not right.”
Cooper says medicaid expansion would provide 3,600 people with health insurance in Pender County alone.
On Tuesday evening, North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley released a statement about the budget negotiations, saying:
“Legislative leaders have proposed a special session to address health care options, a proposal that the Governor refuses to acknowledge. Instead, Cooper is holding the state’s budget hostage, including millions of dollars for education, at a time when children and teachers are heading back to school. It’s time for the Governor to drop his ultimatum and come to the negotiating table.”