RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory says he has "found" more than $10 million to reward teachers pursuing a master's degree.
McCrory said in a statement Wednesday that the more than 3,000 teachers pursuing advanced degrees will receive their salary increase when they graduate. He added, "I continue my resolve and support for raises tied to the creation of a new compensation system for our teachers."
North Carolina teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. The National Education Association ranked North Carolina 46 out of 50 in the country for average teacher salaries in 2012-2013.
The budget eliminates teacher tenure, freezes teacher salaries for the fifth time in six years, ends automatic pay increases for teachers who get master's degrees and reduces funding for teachers' assistants. More than 8,000 teachers and demonstrators gathered for one of the largest Moral Monday protests in Raleigh at the end of July to speak out against the budget.
In an interview with Raleigh NBC-affiliate WNCN, Governor McCrory defended significant pay raises he gave two of his staff members who are in their twenties. When he was asked about teacher pay, Governor McCrory told WNCN, "I want teachers to make a lot more. I want teachers to make what TV anchors get paid."
On Wednesday, McCrory said he signed an executive order to create the Governor's Teacher Advisory Council to "give a voice to a diverse group of teachers from across the state."