State Budget

Art Pope To Step Down As State Budget Director

Aug 6, 2014
Art Pope

Noted North Carolina politician and businessman, Art Pope, is leaving his position as State Budget Director. The move comes one week after lawmakers agreed to a revised $21 billion budget.

In a press conference Wednesday, Governor Pat McCrory praised Pope for his work in shepherding the budget through negotiations.

"We couldn't have done it without Art Pope, and his cooperation with my cabinet, with my policy team, with the House and Senate leaders," McCrory said. "It wouldn't have happened without his incredible relationship building and knowledge of the state budget."

Gov. Pat McCrory

Governor Pat McCrory says he approves of the legislature's spending plan for state and will sign the bill.

The Senate already passed the $21 billion budget bill today and the House will likely approve it Saturday morning.

Governor Pat McCrory touted the budget proposal at a press conference on Friday.

“We've got a 2.2 percent increase in the general fund budget with no tax increase, with teacher pay raises, no elimination of teachers assistants and we've kept the integrity of our Medicaid, I'm proud of it,” he said.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC


The General Assembly’s budget proposal is headed to the state House after a late night in the Senate. 

Senators passed the $21 billion spending plan around 1:00 a.m. and then adjourned for the session. But they left some bills on the table, including a plan to clean up Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds and a proposal to overhaul Medicaid.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia and WUNC's education policy reporter, Reema Khrais, about the conclusion of the short session.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

After a 15-hour day at the legislature, Senators voted this morning to pass the $21.3 billion state spending plan. 

Senators didn't leave the legislative building until about 1 a.m. They were determined to make a final vote on the budget and wrap up any loose ends before heading home. 

But they'll be back soon enough. They're expected to return in a couple of weeks to take up any possible vetoes from the Governor. Then, they'll be back in November to pick up at least two bills they didn't finish. 

Lawmakers voted this summer to eventually eliminate teacher tenure, replacing it with temporary contracts. The State Board of Education will discuss a model contract this week.
cybrarian77 /

 As the state budget is finalized, some critics say they’re skeptical of how the teacher pay raises will pan out.

Under the budget deal, public school teachers will get an average seven percent raise. On the surface, many teachers say that sounds great, but some are worried about what it'll mean for more experienced teachers.

Currently, teachers with more than 10 years of experience receive lump-sum bonuses, which will be eliminated under the new salary plan.

photo of the North Carolina Senate
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

After spending a month dragging their feet on the state budget, lawmakers are now in a 48-hour race to wrap it up and go home. The $21.1 billion budget before them is a hefty 260-page document filled with hundreds of edits, figures and calculations.  But for many Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), one item stands out.

“The priority of this session was education and, in particular, teacher pay,” Brown said.

photo of NC Legislature
creative commons


Senate and House leaders have announced the framework of their $21 billion dollar state budget deal. One of the biggest sticking points was over teacher pay; the compromise offers public school teachers an average seven percent raise. Senate leader Phil Berger touted the plan at a press conference earlier today.

"The $282 million dollars invested in teacher pay with this budget will be the largest teacher pay increase in state history, moving North Carolina from 46th in the nation to 32nd in the nation in national teacher pay rankings," Berger said.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

 Nearly a month past their deadline, state leaders say they hope to release a final spending plan adjustment in the next couple of days.

Top negotiators haven't officially released any details yet, but they expect to give teachers average raises of about 7 percent. 

Governor McCrory talks with reporters at legislative building
Jessica Jones

 Governor Pat McCrory says that he and Republican leaders are making headway on resolving differences over the state budget.

He made an unusual visit to the legislature Thursday where he says he touched base and continued dialogue with lawmakers. McCrory says he spent more than an hour and a half talking with Senate leaders this week.

“I did present both the Senate and House caucuses, I think, breakthrough plans on how to work out our differences,” he said.

Lawmakers voted this summer to eventually eliminate teacher tenure, replacing it with temporary contracts. The State Board of Education will discuss a model contract this week.
cybrarian77 /

  The Houston Independent School District is looking to recruit more teachers from North Carolina.

Recruiters first visited in May, where they made 12 on-the-spot offers and later hired about 8 more teachers, according to Shaleah Reed, a spokesperson from HISD.

The district is offering $49,100 as a starting salary. North Carolina’s starting salary is among the lowest in the nation at $30,800.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly


Despite sluggish negotiations over the past two weeks, state lawmakers are taking small steps toward a budget deal. 

The House and Senate are working on compromises for teacher raises and Medicaid spending. They are also considering ways to reform the Medicaid system, including treatment from managed care organizations. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers passed a bill to review and possibly replace Common Core standards.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

Leaders in the state Senate have offered an eight percent pay raise for teachers as they inch closer to putting together a budget.

Senate leaders unveiled their offer to House budget negotiators late Tuesday afternoon. Senators had previously wanted to give educators raises of 11 percent, but House leaders said such a large increase would require cutting too many other areas.

WUNC File Photo

State lawmakers still can’t come to an agreement over how large of a pay raise they want to give public school teachers.

House leaders want to give teachers an average six percent raise, while Senate leaders want to give them about 11 percent. But the Senate plan would cut more than 6,000 teacher assistant jobs to help pay for that larger salary boost. 

It’s a concession that many school leaders say they can’t get behind. They want raises, but not by laying off thousands of teacher assistants.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

House and Senate leaders are back in Raleigh today to try to resolve large differences in their spending plans for the year. 

They're now two weeks past their deadline, as they've been at odds over how much to pay teachers and at what cost. Senators want to give large raises of about 11 percent, but they would pay for them in part by cutting more than 6,000 teacher assistants. 

House leaders have been adamant about providing more modest raises without laying off any educators or impacting the state's Medicaid health insurance program.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Republican lawmakers have been moving slowly on state budget negotiations. They finally reached a compromise Wednesday on how much revenue they will rely on from the state lottery. But that came after hours of finger-pointing and debate over other education issues, including teacher pay.

Before negotiations even began on Wednesday morning, the mood felt sour. Senate leaders weren’t happy that the House had invited school leaders to argue against cutting teacher assistant jobs. Senator Harry Brown objected before the guests could even make their way to the podium.