Raleigh, N.C. — About 1,500 veteran teachers wouldn't see any pay raise under a plan Gov. Pat McCrory has proposed in his 2014-15 budget, the North Carolina Association of Educators said Thursday.
McCrory last week called for raising salaries for teachers in their first seven years by 7.1 percent, to $33,000. That would be a first step toward getting starting salaries for all teacher to $35,000.
His budget plan also gives a raise to other teachers by funding a step increase. Teachers moving to steps eight through 12 on the salary scale would receive a raise that amounts to 2.8 percent to 4.3 percent. Teachers moving to steps 13 through 36 would receive a 2 percent raise on average.
NCAE officials said they discovered Wednesday that teachers with 37 years or more in the classroom would get no raise under the proposal because they have topped out on the salary scale.
"This is a slap in the face to those educators who have given most of their lives to the children of this state," NCAE President Rodney Ellis said in a statement. "For them to get absolutely nothing – not even the $1,000 bonus given to the highest-paid state employees – is a very plain signal that Gov. McCrory puts the most experienced teachers at the bottom of his priority list."
Eric Guckian, McCrory’s senior adviser on education, said that the budget plan "simply funds the current salary schedule in its current form" and said that experienced teachers would be eligible to earn more under the Career Pathways for Teachers program that McCrory recently proposed.
Career Pathways is a local-based model that would reward teachers for both experience and student performance and give school districts the flexibility to provide higher pay to get teachers into low-income and rural schools and to recruit hard-to-find science and math teachers.
"We value our veteran educators and the experience and wisdom that they bring to the students they teach. We're committed to ensuring that all teachers will have the opportunity to earn significantly more for the important work they do for our students," Guckian said in an email.
Left-leaning Progress North Carolina said Career Pathways isn't a viable option, noting that the program's pay scale tops out below what teachers with 37-plus years of experience already earn.
McCrory's office said 98.6 percent of public school teachers statewide would get raises averaging 3.26 percent under the governor's budget.
“We ask the Senate to correct the governor's error and give the most experienced teachers, instructional personnel and administrators a raise along with all other teachers," Ellis said. "Most important, we ask the Senate to go beyond the governor’s proposal and give all teachers a meaningful raise that makes up for having no raises in five of the last six years."