Governor Cooper Vetoes Teacher Pay Bills, Seeks Higher Raises

Nov 8, 2019

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed bills that increase teacher pay, saying the state can do better, on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.
Credit Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

North Carolina's governor has vetoed bills that increase teacher pay, saying the state can do better.

Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Friday that he vetoed two bills that increase teacher pay and pay for non-instructional staff, saying the raises are "paltry."  He vetoed two other bills that cut corporate taxes.

The Republican-controlled legislature last week approved average teacher raises of 3.9% over two years. Most Democrats opposed the bill.

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger said in a news release that Cooper is using teachers as "pawns." House Speaker Tim Moore accused Cooper of refusing to increase teacher salaries "in favor of playing political games on separate issues ..."

But Cooper said he's willing to negotiate teacher raises separate from Medicaid expansion, which has been a main focus for the governor.