State News

North Carolina schools chief seeks teacher raises, bonuses

Posted January 27, 2016
Updated January 28, 2016

State Superintendent June Atkinson

— North Carolina's public schools superintendent wants raises for all teachers and $10,000 bonuses for experienced educators who coach fellow teachers or work to turn around low-performing classrooms.

State schools superintendent June Atkinson went to the legislature Wednesday to present what will likely be a bi-partisan, election-year push to raise teacher salaries that now lag near the bottom in the country.

Legislators have raised teacher pay in each of the past two years, focusing on early-career educators, but Atkinson said much more is needed.

North Carolina ranked 47th in the country for average salaries for public school teachers, according to the most recent estimate by the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union. A first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree and no special certifications is due to make $35,000 during the current academic year, while 20-year veterans get $46,500 a year, state records show.

The elected Democrat said the Republican-run General Assembly would define how many teachers would be eligible for the bonuses, and urged them to make each worth about $10,000 to motivate teachers to take on tougher assignments.

Also, because teachers commonly work in teams to improve academic performance, lawmakers should reward all teachers at schools that exceed expectations, she said.

These kinds of bonuses are already offered by better-financed school districts, while classrooms in poorer areas are left out, Atkinson said.

"The only consistency is inconsistency across the state," she said before the committee hearing.


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  • Dylan Collins Mar 6, 2016
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    North Carolina is losing tons of great talented teachers because the government has other priorities than our children. I want to stay and teach here in wake county after I get my masters in special education but if they continue to be 47th in teacher pay I will leave and so will many other of the best and brightest teachers. It doesn't make sense the triangle has the best colleges in the country but such a terrible public education system. Who does this hurt? Thousands of children but apparently McCrory and all the conservatives in Senate don't care. Hope things will change in November..

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 27, 2016
    user avatar

    47th?? In the country? Why are they even debating it? It certainly isn't an attractive pay scale for new teachers. I do like the idea of bonuses for the tougher assignments. Our teachers deserve better

  • Jim Frei Jan 27, 2016
    user avatar

    June, bless your heart. Don't you know this current crop of republican legislators could not care less about public schools?

  • Dean Logan Jan 27, 2016
    user avatar

    Maybe they can get the money from firing half of the people working in the big pink building downtown.