Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt offered praise for the state budget, calling the spending plan an historic investment in education.

“This budget highlights many of the priorities that I have been advocating for since coming to office, and it provides the certainty we need to continue addressing the challenges that transpired because of COVID,” Truitt said in a statement.

“School and district staff worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and their efforts have been nothing short of remarkable. I’m pleased to see salary increases for teachers, school support staff, and principals in addition to the bonus options for educators and the newly-established Supplementary Fund for low-wealth districts, enabling them to increase teacher pay and retain staff. Additional funding in this budget allows us to progress in hiring more school psychologists, maintain statewide literacy training efforts and address the workforce demands of today and the future with a new computer science division at the department. Importantly, funding in this bill will expand and increase our ability to continue customizing support for low-performing schools and districts in our state.”

Key K-12 Education Highlights in the Budget

♦ An additional $1.5 billion more in recurring funds for K-12 public school system;

♦ $18 million for direct and targeted intervention in low performing schools and districts;

♦ An additional $37.5 million for Science of Reading training professional development;

♦ An average 5% pay raise for teachers and most state employees over two years;

♦ A 2.5% pay increase for principals over two years and an $1,800 bonus;

♦ Increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2022 for all our school support staff;

♦ A $2,800 bonus for most teachers;

♦ $100 million in recurring funds for a new state supplemental fund focused on low-wealth counties to help them compete with bigger, wealthier counties when recruiting teachers;

♦ An additional $14 million for cybersecurity;

♦ Fully funding the school businesses modernization for our public school units for the next 2-3 years;

♦ Reviving the School Technology Fund providing professional development for teachers at $18 million;

♦ Fully funding a new division at the Department of Public Instruction for Computer Science and professional development for teachers;

♦ Over $1 million in professional development funding for financial literacy training for all high school teachers;

♦ $1.7 million for a state-of-the-art school safety training facility;

♦ Additional $6.5 million more recurring for CTE test fees;

♦ Setting our school nutrition programs up for success by capping indirect costs at 8% and requiring two months reserve;

♦ Ensuring school psychologists are in every district and increasing their compensation, which will attract more to the profession;

♦ $400,000 to address the backlog for drivers education in the state;

♦ $36 million for grants for after school and before school programs; and

♦ $36 million for summer school extension programs

%d bloggers like this: