The N.C. General Assembly passed the 2023-25 state budget on Sept. 22 after months of debate among Republican leaders about where state funds should be allocated.
The budget, which totals over $30 billion, was originally scheduled to pass before July 1 — the start of the current fiscal year. Some of the biggest provisions in the budget include Medicaid expansion, tax cuts and increased salaries for state employees.
One of the biggest effects this budget has on North Carolina is in education, N.C. Sen. Graig Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange, Person) said.
“Education is the single largest portion of the budget,” Meyer said.
The legislature increased pay by an average of about seven percent for teachers in North Carolina over the next two years. There will be no changes in small and low wealth county signing bonuses for teachers, and principals will get a four percent raise.
Sara Howell, the policy program manager at the Public School Forum of North Carolina, said the increase in pay may not be as beneficial as it seems.
She said early career teachers may earn more than a seven percent raise because of the budget's salary schedule, while teachers who have worked in the state for 15 to 24 years may see raises of about three percent over two years.
“That average seven percent number can be misleading as well because there are much higher raises included for early career teachers,” Howell said.
Meyer said teacher pay in the state is still below the national average, and that the seven percent raise was less than the cost of inflation.