UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a $22.3 billion state budget at a Union County elementary school filled with teachers, local politicians and lawmakers.
There are many aspects to the budget the governor touted, including tax relief, making college more affordable and focusing on mental and behavioral health.
McCrory went to Shiloh Elementary School to tell a library full of teachers that he is signing into law a pay increase. Before putting the pen to paper he said, "This is for all the teachers in North Carolina."
The governor talked about the importance of teachers, and explained when he graduated from college he was an education major and couldn't do the job teachers in the audience do. He said teachers make a difference in kids' lives, but haven't been respected the way they should have.
McCrory said he listened to teachers, principals and superintendents' recommendations. Previously, he increased teacher pay by boosting new teachers' salaries. Now he said he wants to raise pay for all teachers.
"The average teacher pay for the first time in North Carolina's history will be over 50 thousand dollars a year," McCrory said.
Madison Gray, a 2nd grade teacher at Walter Bickett Elementary School, said the pay increase will help her.
"It'll make it so I don't have to live paycheck to paycheck. And I have two jobs just to support me and the people around me," Gray said.
Details about the increase can be found in the links below:
The Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Roy Cooper, said these teacher raises fail to even make North Carolina competitive in teacher pay. According to the National Education Association, the average teacher salary is $60,000 a year.
WBTV tried to ask Governor McCrory about the NBA possibly taking the 2017 All-Star Game elsewhere and what he has been saying to them. He responded, "I'm dealing with education - that's more important than anything. Education is more important than anything. We've created some great jobs in North Carolina too."