‘Incredible investment’: Gaston County school teacher hopes to see proposed state budget, including teacher bonuses and salary increases

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – It’s not often that teachers get a bonus or a statewide pay rise, but North Carolina’s proposed biennial budget could change that.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Senate passed the proposed budget by 40 to 8 votes.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that he will sign a budget that will grant pay increases to many state employees, he said Tuesday afternoon.

Cooper said he would sign the budget despite “missed opportunities” and “political and unnecessary missteps.”

“I’ll sign the budget because out of balance the good outweighs the bad,” Cooper said. “It takes North Carolina forward in important ways, many of which are critical to the state’s progress as we come out of this pandemic.”

The proposed figures include an average salary increase of 5% for teachers over the next two years, a bonus of $ 2,800 to most teachers using federal funds and $ 100 million to support low-wealth counties in recruiting teachers.

Erynn Chambers, a music teacher at Brookside Elementary School in Gaston County, is anxiously awaiting final approval of the state’s budget proposal.

“I’m probably going to put it in my savings just trying to build some interest there,” Chambers said.

Chambers says not all of the teachers she knows are happy.

“I think some people feel grateful for that, some people are wondering, ‘well, where’s our step increase that we were supposed to get? “

On Monday evening, Gaston County schools voted Monday evening to grant an additional bonus of $ 1,000 to all school employees hired before September 1, 2021.

Chambers says the extra thousand dollars she receives from Gaston County will help her replenish her class.

“I spent some of my money on dry erase markers, I could always use more. Some of the instruments could be replaced, ”Chambers said.

As Chambers awaits final votes and the governor’s signature, she says she hopes this is a good direction for those in education.

“I think it will be an incredible investment in citizens,” Chambers said.

The vote will then go to the House before landing on Cooper’s desk.

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