Apr 24, 2024 - News

Cooper's budget calls for teacher raises, pause on school vouchers

Photo illustration of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios; Photo: Raleigh News & Observer/Getty Images

Gov. Roy Cooper released his proposals for the state budget on Wednesday, calling for a big investment in public schools and a moratorium on private school vouchers.

Driving the news: Cooper's unveiled the $34.5 billion plan at the start of the N.C. General Assembly's short session, in which the Republican-controlled legislature could pass a bill adjusting the state's spending.

Reality check: Cooper's proposal is just that — a proposal. With Republicans having a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the N.C. General Assembly, they can pass a budget without his involvement.

  • Republicans have previously expressed interest in adding raises for state workers, more money for private-school vouchers and cutting taxes.

What's inside Cooper's proposal: An average 8.5% raise for teachers, a 5% raise for other state employees and a $1,500 retention bonus for most state employees.

  • It also includes a moratorium on adding money to North Carolina's Opportunity Scholarships for private schools. Cooper said at a press conference the legislature's efforts with vouchers are "trying to choke the life out of public schools."
  • A $745 million investment into early childhood education that comes as federal funding expiring for many childhood education centers.
  • A $2.5 billion school construction bond on the ballot this fall to fund construction for 90 new elementary and middle schools across the state.

Cooper said his budget would not raises taxes on anyone, but he also called on the legislature not to cut taxes anymore — something Republicans are currently considering.


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