Just when you thought changes to teacher pay couldn't get any more confusing, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that he had "found" money "to ensure that over 3,000 teachers currently pursuing their master's degrees will receive a salary increase when they graduate, an investment of over $10 million."
|McCrory: Found $10 million|
That's probably good news for teachers who felt like this year's budget bill cheated them out of the chance to get a raise they'd been promised when they enrolled, or who thought they'd have to work at breakneck pace to squeak in past an uncertain deadline. The clamor to revise that plan has been growing, with some Mecklenburg legislators saying the vote was a mistake and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Heath Morrison urging them to grandfather all teachers who had begun work on advanced degrees.
But exactly how will McCrory's $10 million plan play out? Will it put him at odds with legislators who voted to cut off anyone who hadn't earned the 10 percent raise by this school year? Is this a one-time infusion, or an assurance that they'll keep the raise throughout their careers? I don't know, and journalists who were at Wednesday's school board meeting in Raleigh seem confused, too. WRAL reported that McCrory didn't take questions from reporters and his advisers couldn't explain details. A statement posted by McCrory's office doesn't shed much light.
Lynn Bonner, an education reporter with the News & Observer, says it was a confusing situation. She's planning to file on the issue, and I'll keep you posted as I learn anything more. Update: Here's her detailed report, and it's more confusing than ever. Apparently the governor's office and the state Board of Education disagree on who has authority to extend this, and the governor's office later clarified that he just plans to propose adding the $10 million to the 2014-15 budget.
Meanwhile, I can't help wondering how much money is lying around the governor's office. It wasn't long ago that McCrory proposed creating an innovation fund to offer $10,000 stipends to 1,000 top teachers, another $10 million plan.