NC school districts encouraged but concerned about state budget

Posted June 17, 2014

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— Leaders from four North Carolina school districts held a news conference Tuesday, thanking state lawmakers for their efforts to raise teacher pay but urging them to reconsider some of the paths to get there.

Speaking on behalf of a consortium of the state’s 10 largest school districts, superintendents from school systems in Cumberland, Johnston, New Hanover and Wake counties said they couldn’t stand to lose teaching assistants under a Senate plan that calls for roughly half of the positions in elementary schools to be eliminated to offset the cost.

“Creating salary increases by slashing other areas (of education) is not a formula for academic success,” Tim Markley, superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, said.

In exchange for the cuts, the Senate budget would give an average raise of about $5,800 – depending on seniority – to teachers who voluntarily relinquish their rights to career status, commonly referred to as tenure.

The House plan, approved Friday, promises an average 5 percent teacher pay raise by boosting the amount of money coming from the state lottery. It does not cut teaching assistant positions, and unlike the Senate budget, House members do not tie the prospect of raises to relinquishing tenure.

Because lottery money can be used to pay school debt, Johnston County Schools Superintendent Ed Croom said, school districts would be forced to reallocate funding from other spending areas.

“It just creates a situation in a budget where you’re taking from one and giving to another,” he said.

Still, leaders said they are encouraged that the two proposals, as well as one from Gov. Pat McCrory call for pay raises.

“We believe state leaders are having the right kind of discussions,” Wake County Public School System Superintendent Jim Merrill said.

Markley and Merrill said teachers in the state have gone more than five years without a meaningful increase, and that’s made it difficult to fill positions.

“If you fail to invest in your employees, they leave,” Merrill said. “This what superintendents are seeing as we prepare for the upcoming school year.”

Merrill said his district could be facing as many as 1,000 open teaching positions for the 2014 fall semester.


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  • Jason Galarneau Jun 17, 2014
    user avatar

    Here's a big money saver. Stop all the busing and transportation to and from schools. Allow the parents to drop off early and pick up late from school so they can make work. Pay the teachers some extra $$ to watch the kids. Win win. Would save 100's of millions a year. Will never happen.

  • Groogrux Jun 17, 2014

    Bulldozer, so teachers are babysitters? Great. By the way, many schools have before/after care already for a very reasonable cost.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 17, 2014
    user avatar

    Raise taxes again. OK. we better see some major improvement in results. We're not accepting mediocre anymore.

  • AppStgrad Jun 17, 2014

    View quoted thread

    What about instead of judging teachers on their students test scores, we look at how engaged in learning the students are? Or how many books they've read and can speak intelligibly about? Or their ability to explain complex math problems to others. Those things actually show the fruits f a teachers labor, not one developmentally inappropriate test.

  • ospreysilver Jun 17, 2014

    Just think about how ridiculous this whole debate is, your paying the plumber and AC guy 30- 33 hrly, yet pay a teacher with a 4yr degree or masters 15hrly and limit them to 10mth earnings, ironically the same hourly amount McDonalds workers are fighting to get!

  • Thomas Hannan Jun 17, 2014
    user avatar

    YANKEE1 - First of all, it is the NY Post... I am surprised that you didn't also quote the Washington Times. Second, association is not the same as a union. I belong to a number of professional associations and NONE provide for collective bargaining - an essential component in a union. They are involved with lobbying just like every other special interest group. Try reading something outside of the echo chamber; a story based on statistics and not conjecture and anecdote - you just come across as ignorant.

  • Thomas Hannan Jun 17, 2014
    user avatar

    BULLDOZER - "Pay the teachers some extra $$ to watch the kids."

    How incredibly offensive. That is how you see teachers? Babysitters? What do you do for a living - I am sure ANYONE including a trained chimp could do YOUR job.

  • HGA_Matt Jun 17, 2014

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    I'm glad that you can assume every family has multiple parents at home to even make this an option. What about couples who met in college and both have student loans? My wife and I have nearly $600 a month in student loans, and regardless of how else we live, that bill needs to get paid. Gas prices to drive out to Raleigh/Cary/RTP where the jobs are. There are many factors that go into parents' decisions about what kind of care their children need. It's naiive and narrow minded to make assumptions that everyone can have a 2 parent, 1 income scenario.

  • dirtydozen431 Jun 17, 2014

    We have google and everybody has a cell phone so just look stuff up. Who needs some sheepskin.

  • sisu Jun 17, 2014

    I just had a wildlife specialist out to my house last week to get a critter out of my attic. Cost $425 and he was here about 30 minutes. Makes it hard for me to think teachers don't deserve more money for actually teaching children.