January 17, 2020

Legislative Update

A Note from PENC Executive Director


The actions or the lack thereof, of our leadership this past Tuesday in Raleigh at the North Carolina General Assembly continues to prove the message to our most vital state employees.  The message being sent for the last seven months proves that educators in the state of North Carolina are merely pawns in a failing political chess match that our leaders continue to play to the detriment of our school system.

After the inaction on Tuesday, questions continue to resurface after the adjournment of the long session. What happens now?  When will a budget be passed?  When will partisanship take a backseat to what is in the best interest of North Carolina?

I want to be clear that The Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC) will continue to support, defend, and negotiate for the best interests of our students, our classrooms, and our educators. 

As a result of the inactions of our elected officials’ public education will continue down the road with last year’s budget (2018-2019). Not only does this create a huge burden on Local Education Agencies (LEA) to fund and sustain their respective programs, it will also do little to satisfy mandates to reduce class size.  Salary increases are frozen and on hold for the foreseeable future.  And this “budget do-over” will do little to replenish our classrooms with fresh incoming educators after our retiring veterans surrender to years of disrespectful treatment.

Be aware of the rhetoric that leads up to the April Short Session.  You will hear our leadership in Raleigh make allegations of “partisan obstruction,” or an “unwillingness to negotiate.”  These political phrases ignore that educators ARE important; but not quite important enough to pass a budget or provide raises to our classroom teachers and staff: that is unless your party will yield to our party so that we can show a political victory.

Perhaps our state leaders should emulate the work ethics and the mental fortitude of our classroom leaders.  When we are faced with adversity or obstacles in our educational environment, we do not take our chessboard home and surrender to pressure.  We plan, we innovate, we compromise, and we strive for the best solutions.  Our children deserve that from us.

North Carolina educators and citizens deserve better.  Your move elected officials!

Bill Medlin, Executive Director

The Professional Educators of North Carolina is an independent, state-based and nonpartisan professional organization that serves as a voice for educators in policymaking and an advocate for improving the learning environment for every educator and student.

Legislators returned in the new year this week to continue with the budget situation. Action was taken this week, but we were still left with no resolution to the budget stalemate. As a reminder, the House has already performed the override of the governor’s veto. The Senate has yet to override, and there has been no real negotiation between the governor and the legislature. In short, we mostly have seen a lot of finger-pointing.

The Senate did take up two bills that were vetoed by the governor. These two bills were regulatory reform and the bill that released teacher pay increases despite the override. Both attempts to override failed with party-line votes. Democrats stated that an average of 3.9% was not enough, and they were against the politics of increasing that amount to 4.4% if the budget veto override occurs. Republicans fired back that we can go ahead and have the 3.9% now, and continue to discuss more as the budget stalemate continues.

Legislators left town and officially ended the long session with major political items incomplete. They announced that they will return for the short session on April 28, 2020. In the meantime, teacher raises will still be on hold, counties will struggle with local budgets, and any priorities that find themselves in the state budget will still be blocked. We are doing all we can to express your frustration with the process and let our state leaders know that these are our educators, their families, and entire school systems that educate our children, which are being impacted negatively.

As we wait for lawmakers to return in April, interim committees like Education Oversight will begin to meet. We will also begin going to legislative districts to meet with members to express your concerns. In addition, we will also continue to communicate your concerns to the governor. Thanks for what you do, and please know we are not giving up!

We thank you for your continued support in the fight for our students and teachers across North Carolina. Join us!

For information about specific issues, please contact lobbyist@pencweb.org.

For more information about the North Carolina General Assembly, click here.
To identify and contact your legislators, click here.