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Governor Cooper Unveils FY 2022-23 Budget Proposal

Governor Cooper released on Wednesday his 2022-23 State Budget Proposal, entitled “Building on Success,” which includes over half a billion dollars in proposed investments to education. “North Carolina is emerging from the pandemic stronger than before, and we will sustain that only if we invest in a strong foundation for our people: a quality education, good jobs and infrastructure, and access to affordable healthcare,” Cooper said in a statement. The 2022-23 budget proposal builds on funding and policy provisions included in the enacted state budget package passed last fall, but also includes items not included, such as Medicaid expansion and recurring cost-of-living increases for state retirees. The Governor’s proposal can be seen as a “first step” in budget negotiations with the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which is set to reconvene on May 18.

The Governor’s 2022-23 budget proposal provides $525.8 million to fully fund Year Three of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan, as well as fund studies called for in Plan Year Two but not funded in the last state budget package. The following provides an overview of the proposal:

  • $33.1 million for skilled educator pipeline and building educators and principal capacity (Note: funds below are recurring unless otherwise indicated)
    • $200,000 to the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC)
    • $300,000 nonrecurring for licensure, compensation, and pipeline studies
    • $5 million for high-need teacher preparation residencies
    • $400,000 to NCDPI Office of Equity Affairs
    • $3.8 million for Advanced Teaching Roles
    • $1.3 million for National Board Certification for teachers
    • $1.7 million for Recruitment Grants to Low Wealth and High Needs Districts and Schools
    • $4.7 million for Teaching Fellows; expands program eligibility to include “any State Board of Education-approved educator preparation programs, broaden eligible certification areas, extend the reduced payback period to Fellows who teach in high-poverty schools, improve opportunities for talented minority candidates, and expand program support and enhancement.” This investment is expected to support up to 535 additional Teaching Fellows with forgivable loans.
    • $2.5 million for “Grow Your Own” programs
    • $5 million for NC New Teacher Support Program
    • $8.2 million for NC Principal Fellows
  • $370.1 million for “fair and equitable distribution of financial resources”
    • $56.9 million for Children with Disabilities Funding Cap and funding; “removes funding caps and increases funding by $146.9 million for Children with Disabilities, Disadvantaged Student Supplemental Fund (DSSF), and Limited English Proficiency allotments to increase the number of at-risk students receiving supplementary funding and address the higher costs of serving specific populations.”
    • $70 million for DSSF and At-Risk Allotment and Funding
    • $40 million for Low-Wealth Schools Funding
    • $20 million for Limited English Proficiency Funding Cap and funding
    • $30 million for Teaching Assistant Formula and funding
    • $70.2 million for specialized instructional support personnel
    • $71.2 million for teacher pay (See additional details in compensation section below)
    • Approximately $11.8 million for school-based administrator pay (See additional details in compensation section below)
    • Approximately $39.61 million for central office and noncertified employee pay
  • $19.9 million for supporting low-performing schools and districts
    • $10 million for District and Regional Support model
    • $6 million for schools “to adopt a Community Schools model to address out-of-school barriers to learning.”
    • $3.9 million for reduced-price lunch co-pays; offsets co-pays for eligible students in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program; this investment is expected to provide up to 97,500 students with no co-pay, free school meals.
  • $89.7 million for expanding access “to high-quality early childhood education for children from birth to age five”
    • $41.9 million for NC Pre-K expansion
    • $10.25 million recurring and $250,000 nonrecurring for Early Intervention
    • $10 million for Smart Start; provides grant funds for community colleges to host early childhood education centers.
    • $26 million for Child Care WAGES
    • $1.25 million for recruitment and professional development
  • $13 million to create a “guided pathway from high school to postsecondary education and career opportunities.”
    • $3 million in revised funding for NCVPS
    • $10 million for career development coordinators in Grade 6-12
  • Provides $691 million recurring and $863 million nonrecurring to increase compensation and provide retention bonuses for all state employees and state-funded local employees and to give retirees a cost-of-living adjustment. Specific recommendations for school personnel include:
    • $71.2 million for teacher pay
      • Provides funding for an extra 2.5% increase to double the planned FY 2022-23 compensation increase to 5% for teachers, Instructional Support personnel and Assistant Principals paid on the teacher salary schedule.
      • Updates the teacher salary schedule to reduce salary plateaus for experienced teachers, Instructional Support personnel, School Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, and Audiologists; and provides funds for a salary increase for individuals paid in accordance with the statewide teacher salary schedule and an experience-based step increase for educators earning a year of creditable service.
      • Together with the increases provided in SL 2021-180, these increases provide an average increase for existing teachers of at least 7.5% over the biennium.
      • Restores Master’s Pay for classroom teachers with advanced degrees in the subjects they teach.
    • Approximately $11.8 million for school-based administrator pay, including doubling the planned 2.5% increase for Principals to 5%.
    • Approximately $39.61 million for central office and noncertified employee pay to provide an additional 2.5% increase and double the planned 2022-23 increase to 5%.
    • Approximately $375 million for retention bonuses to all state employees, local education employees, and public school personnel regardless of funding source; provides an additional $500 bonus to eligible employees, including employees with an annual salary of less than $75,000.
  • Bonuses will be paid in two installments, with the first half paid in November 2022 and the other half in April 2023.
    • $122 million for Teacher, Instructional Support, and School-based Administrator Bonus — Repeats and expands the FY 2021-22 bonus funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, providing an additional $1,000 General-Fund funded bonus to all teachers, instructional support personnel, assistant principals, and principals, regardless of funding source. This increases the total bonus a teacher can expect to receive to $3,000 during FY 2022-23. As with the retention bonus, this bonus shall be paid half in November 2022 and half in April 2023.
    • $75 million for Supplemental Funds for Teacher Compensation — supports teachers across the state by opening supplemental allotment eligibility to all North Carolina counties and increasing the per teacher allotment cap from $4,250 to $5,000.

Highlights of additional education-related budget proposals can be found below:

  • $500 million on public school construction through the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, with each school district getting a base amount of $500,000 and then further funding based on Average Daily Membership.
  • $70.2 million recurring to hire approximately 850 additional Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP), including school counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists, to support student mental and physical health. Provides at least one new SISP position to each school district and allows flexibility in SISP position allotments so LEAs may strategically hire SISP staff to best meet the needs of their students.
  • $4.5 million to fund 115 year-long school psychologist internship positions at the equivalent of a starting teacher salary.
  • $30 million recurring increase to hire additional Teacher Assistants to help support K-3 literacy efforts.
  • $2.5 million recurring increase to the School Transportation allotment and $25 million nonrecurring to cover the rising cost of bus fuel.
  • $14 million recurring and $600,000 nonrecurring to support eight regional coaches, one implementation coordinator, and 115 early literacy specialists to support Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) Science of Reading training across the state.
  • $3.9 million recurring to offset the co-pays for students eligible for reduced price lunches in schools participating in National School Lunch Program. This will provide free meals for up to an additional 97,500 students.
  • $8 million nonrecurring for youth-targeted Rural Works Pilot Program “to implement the 3 -year Rural Works program pilot, an expanded version of the successful Surry-Yadkin Works program”
    • Expected impact notes this expansion has potential to impact over 500 students per year.
    • $38.7 million to enhance community and school safety, with $20 million recurring designated for ADM-based school safety grants.
  • $50M in down-payment assistance for eligible first-time homebuyers, with enhanced assistance ($15,000) for educators.
  • $162 million Labor Market Retention and Adjustment Reserve to be shared among all Cabinet agencies to address retention & competition concerns.

For more information on the Governor’s budget proposal, see the list of additional resources below: