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‘An amazing investment:’ Gaston County Schools teacher is hopeful for proposed state budget including teacher bonuses, pay raises

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Senate passed the proposed budget in a 40-8 vote.
It’s not often that teachers get a statewide bonus or pay raise, but the proposed North Carolina biennial budget could change that.
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 11:16 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s not often that teachers get a statewide bonus or pay raise, but the proposed North Carolina biennial budget could change that.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Senate passed the proposed budget in a 40-8 vote.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he will sign a budget that would give pay raises to many state workers, he announced Tuesday afternoon.

Cooper said he will sign the budget into law despite “missed opportunities” and “politically and unnecessary missteps.”

“I will sign the budget, because unbalanced, the good outweighs the bad,” Cooper said. “It moves North Carolina forward in important ways, many of which are critical in the state’s progress as we are emerging from this pandemic.”

The proposed numbers include an average 5% pay raise for teachers over the next two years, a $2,800 bonus to most teachers using federal funds, and 100 million dollars to support low wealth counties with recruiting teachers.

Gaston County’s Brookside Elementary School music Teacher Erynn Chambers is anxiously waiting for final approval for the proposed state budget.

“I’ll probably be putting it in my savings just trying to build up some interest there,” Chambers said

Chambers says not all teachers she knows are satisfied.

“I think some people are feeling grateful for it, some people are like ‘well where’s our step raise that we were supposed to get?”

On Monday night, Gaston County Schools voted Monday night to give an extra $1,000 bonus to all school employees hired before September 1, 2021.

Chambers says the extra thousand dollars she’s getting from Gaston County will help restock her classroom.

“I’ve spent some of my own money on felt too dry erase markers, I could always use more of those. Some of the instruments could stand to be replaced,” Chambers said.

As Chambers waits on the final votes and signing from the Governor, she says she’s hopeful it’s a good direction for those in the field of education.

“I think that it will be an amazing investment into the citizens,” Chambers said.

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

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