Lottery and teacher raises

So, the Republicans in NC know they are getting hammered for their lack of concern for K-12 education.  Our teacher pay has fallen close to bottom in the whole country.  The political solution– teacher raises, of course.  The state Senate plan calls for pulling this off by removing thousands of teachers’ aids from the classroom in early grades.  Hmmm.  It’s not like those aids are helping kids learn how to read or anything like that.

The NC House has an even better plan to pay for teacher raises, though– budget alchemy.  They are simply going to find millions of new dollars by increasing the lottery advertising budget.  More ads-> more lottery tickets sold -> more money for education.  Alas, the lottery administrators say that the changes will never bring in the amount that the legislature is planning on for the raises.  In part, because other parts of the budget place restrictions on what the lottery can do.  The lottery officials explained this to the legislators, but they are not interested.  Via the N&O:

 — The state’s lottery director said in public on Wednesday the lottery cannot meet a $106 million target set by lawmakers in the state House because they wrote several other lottery restrictions into their plan, undermining a signature part of the House budget that passed on Friday.

The lottery’s target would help finance pay raises averaging about 5 percent for school teachers across North Carolina, under the House plan.

In an interview, Alice Garland, the lottery’s director since 2011, said she expressed concern about missing the target privately to a key House budget writer, state Rep. Nelson Dollar, before the House adopted its spending plan – and that documents were provided to key officials.

She said she was told by Dollar to stay quiet about it.

Wonderful.  My theory…  They know that next year it won’t actually bring in enough money for the 5% raises; but  this year, before the election, they can say– look, we care about teachers and education.  And heck, even if that’s not their actual intention, hard to see how it doesn’t play out something like this if this is the version of the law that comes to pass.  Shame on NC voters if they are fooled (though I fully expect them to be).


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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