Former Gov. Hunt says state can fund teacher pay and larger univ - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Former Gov. Hunt says state can fund teacher pay and larger university budget

Former Gov. Jim Hunt said North Carolina should raise teacher pay and provide more funding for higher education during a stop in Wilmington Wednesday. Former Gov. Jim Hunt said North Carolina should raise teacher pay and provide more funding for higher education during a stop in Wilmington Wednesday.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT/AP) – Former Gov. Jim Hunt said North Carolina should raise teacher pay and provide more support for higher education, when asked Wednesday about a recent memo in which the state's budget director said the university system's funding request was "not realistic."  

State Budget Director Art Pope wrote the University of North Carolina Board of Governors last week explaining they were asking for far too much money.

The memo accuses the board of ignoring his office's instructions to present a budget proposal no more than 2 percent larger. The university's request for the upcoming fiscal year is 11 percent higher than this year's budget, according to the memo.

Pope explained the state has competing budget priorities such as raises for primary and secondary teachers.

"We can do both. In the past we have done both," Hunt said Wednesday when asked about state spending on teacher pay versus universities. "We've increased the university system because we've got more students that need to go. We need to do more things to attract industry, do more good research and so forth that leads to better jobs. And we can raise teacher pay."

Hunt was in the Port City to provide the keynote address at a fundraiser luncheon benefiting the Children's Museum of Wilmington.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.

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