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Gov. Cooper Vetoes Teacher Pay Raises, Calling Them 'Paltry'

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed bills that would have given teachers pay raises, calling them "paltry."

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed bills proposing pay raises for North Carolina teachers Friday, calling them “paltry.”

The North Carolina General Assembly had approved average teacher raises of 3.9% over two years, along with 2% raises for non-instructional staff.

The legislation has passed primarily along party lines, with Democrats saying the raises were not enough.

Cooper agreed, and said he wants to work with the General Assembly to find a solution.

“There is still time and the tax money available to find a middle ground,” Cooper said. “I stand here today willing to negotiate. Right now. The time for coming together to find a compromise on teacher raises has not passed.”

Prior to now, teacher pay raises have been tied to a fight over the state budget that has centered on Cooper’s call for Medicaid expansion.

"I will negotiate the pay raises of teachers and other educators separate and apart from Medicaid expansion," Gov. Cooper said in a statement. "I urge all legislators from both parties to help us come together and support our teachers."

Senate leader Phil Berger said teachers have been used “as pawns.”

“Teachers are told to be good, loyal Democrats and their union and their Governor will take care of them,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators planned a press conference at 4 p.m. Friday with Sen. Jeff Jackson and Sen. Joyce Weddell "to thank Gov. Cooper and Democratic lawmakers for rejecting the GOP's latest bad-faith teacher pay plan," a release said.

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.