Senator Dan Soucek, who serves as co-chairman on both the Senate Appropriations on Education/Higher Education committee and Senate Education/Higher Education committees, commented this week on a major overhaul of how classroom teachers would be paid in North Carolina, including a pathway to substantial pay raises, saying  “I’m very proud of the Senate education budget, which contains the largest teacher pay increase in state history. This will move our teacher pay to near top of the region and will attract and retain the best possible teachers to educate our students.” But the plan comes with a number of caveats, including that teachers would have to choose to give up tenure to take advantage of the new pay scale. Teachers who want to keep job protections that come with tenure would stay on the current plan and would face stagnant pay. The Raleigh News & Observer obtained draft budget documents that indicate that Senate leaders are planning to spend as much as $468 million more on teacher pay in the next budget year – a significant amount that would provide an average raise of 11 percent for teachers who move to the new pay plan. The paper points out that, with Senate leader Phil Berger  ruling out tax increases a few weeks ago, it is not clear where the money would come from.