NC Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday, Nov. 8 vetoed the pay raise for teachers the Republican-led North Carolina legislature passed just before it adjourned on Thursday, Oct. 31.
Cooper had the support of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), who agreed that the average of a 3.9 percent increase for teachers and 2 percent increase for non-instructional staff was not enough.
Cooper had offered an 8.5 percent pay raise for teachers in his compromise budget after he vetoed the budget passed by the legislature on June 28.
Legislative leaders have complained that Cooper refused to negotiate a budget unless the Republican legislature agreed to a Medicaid expansion. The Republicans called it an “ultimatum.” Cooper didn’t like the word ultimatum but repeatedly said that the Medicaid expansion issue had to be settled before the budget could be negotiated, which sounds a lot like an ultimatum regardless of what you call it.
One interesting aspect of the veto of teacher pay raises is that Cooper said he is now willing to negotiate teacher pay raises separately from the budget, and before settling the Medicaid expansion standoff.
President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger, in a press release, stated, ”Teachers are told to be good, loyal Democrats and their union and their Governor will take care of them. But they need to ask themselves: ‘What has Roy Cooper ever done for me?’ He’s vetoed every single teacher pay raise that’s come across his desk, and he chose today to give teachers nothing for the next two years.
“Governor Cooper uses teachers as pawns, blocking their pay increases then trying to convince them it’s all the Republicans’ fault. At some point, they’ll see his cynical ploy for what it really is.”
With the legislature adjourned, the bill giving teachers a pay raise of 3.9 percent retroactive to July 1 appeared to be the last chance teachers had of getting a pay increase this year.
But it’s politics, so anything can happen.