CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed an executive order Tuesday forcing all state employees and teachers to take a half-percent pay cut for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
They will get 10 hours of flexible time off in exchange for the pay cut.
The governor said the decision will save the state budget $65 million.
After hearing this news, Mary McCray, President of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, told WBTV she was dismayed.
McCray represents more than 3,000 employees with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).
"We're very relunctant about how it's being done," she said. "Maybe next year, we can be at the table with these budget processes."
We asked advocate Marian Wright Edelman about her reaction to the salary cuts since she was in Charlotte on Tuesday to attend the Magnet Schools of America National Conference at the Charlotte Convention Center.
She has been tackling education issues for more than 30 years.
"Education and children, who are the whole future for all of us, have never received the support in good times or bad," Edelman said. "I contend we don't have a money problem, we have profound value and priority problem."
While Edelman fights for justice in the classrooms, McCray is concerned teachers and other CMS workers will struggle with this latest news.
McCray said a .5 percent paycut for a teacher making $30,000 a year will equal $150 less in their paycheck. A teacher making $50,000 a year can expect $250 less.
"That's a big chunk for someone who doesn't make a big chunk anyway," McCray said.
She expects the paycuts to start next month.
CMS officials say the district is still trying to determine how the cuts will work. It is unclear if all of the 19,000 employees with the district will be affected by the pay cut.
The pay reductions will last only last through June.
The teachers can take the 10 hours off between June and December.