The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

June 16, 2014

Bill on teacher pay will hurt schools 

Monday, June 16, 2014 — Senate Bill 744 (Teacher Pay) requires transfer/elimination of $390 million from the state education budget. This money was established decades ago for desperately needed classroom assistant teachers. Also dismantled (some partially): classroom textbooks, instructional supply money (such as paper, pencils, dry-erase markers), all media specialist assts., school maintenance equipment, field-trip transportation funding, instructional building maintenance personnel, and remedial reading/summer education … There is more:

With 7,000 teacher assistants literally fired across our state, each elementary school will lose an average of five teacher assistants next year. Teacher assistants are not in classrooms to decorate bulletin boards or monitor potty trips. These teachers provide invaluable one-on-one instruction that is critical to reading/math development. Our best deal in education, with the average teacher assistant paid half of what a certified teacher earns. It’s a shame, but most teacher assistants’ children  qualify for Medicaid and supplemental assistance.

Should our children and grandchildren be required to graduate with a third rate diploma in order to foot-the-bill for teacher pay? Why can’t teachers be paid what they deserve, without being forced to accept some underhanded deal that would cause our children to suffer?

Senate Bill 744 provides N.C.’s most experienced teachers with a total annual increase of 1 percent ($143 total). All eligibility toward any accumulated longevity pay is surrendered. See [SB744, Sec.9.1.(a)]. Teachers must forfeit all due process (allowing termination for any judicious reason including extended pregnancy leave).

Without due process, a letter such as this … could be grounds for immediate dismissal by an administrator with a differing opinion or opposing political party affiliation.

Already passed by Senate: If Bill 744 is signed by Gov. McCrory … it will be responsible for 7,000 N.C. teacher assistants losing their jobs … soon drawing unemployment.

Ask Sen. McLaurin: “How did you vote?”

 Billy Mills

 Albemarle

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