A group of teachers at Lincolnton High School have given a failing grade to the North Carolina Senate for its budget proposal.
The teachers gathered for a photograph while holding pieces of paper with a large “F” printed on them on Wednesday as part of the North Carolina Association of Educators’ “Senate gets an F” initiative.
The local teachers and the NCAE have taken issue with several points of the senate’s $20.58 billion budget which, according to a press release by the NCAE, is unlikely to be approved in its current form by the N.C. House.
The senate’s budget proposal freezes teacher pay for two more years, shuts down a 10 percent pay increase for teachers with advanced-level degrees, increases class size for kindergarten through third grade and cuts teacher assistants at the elementary school level, in addition to other cuts.
Teacher pay has been on a complete freeze since the 2009-2010 school year, despite a 30-year schedule from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction that includes a pay increase each year. Several teachers at Lincolnton, some of whom have been with the school for nearly a decade, have yet to see a single pay increase.
“We were told, ‘here’s your beginning salary and you have a 30-year plan,’” Lincolnton math teacher Dustin Weaver, the school’s representative to the NCAE, said. “Some teachers who have been here seven years are still earning what they made when they first stepped in as a teacher. We feel like education is being put last. We’ve already seen that a lot of our top professionals are looking for other jobs where they can advance, and they’re looking to other states as well.”