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Wake County hopes new salary plan improves teacher retention

Posted October 21, 2015
Updated October 22, 2015

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— Teacher retention has been a tough challenge in Wake County and across the state, but school officials are hopeful that a plan unveiled Tuesday will help keep educators in the classroom.

Under the proposal, a teacher who has spent less than five years on the job would receive a pay increase of nearly $900 a year. A teacher who has more than 30 years of experience would receive an additional $2,250.

The pay increases are made possible by $16 million that was provided by Wake County commissioners to supplement the teacher salaries set by the state. It is intended to combat teacher turnover problems and hard-to-fill positions.

"We are passionate about this," said Hoyt Phillips, a teacher a A.B. Combs Elementary in Raleigh. "It's nice that this raise is going to every teacher in Wake County."

As a new teacher, Hoyt was part of a group that was originally set to see a raise from the state, but now, he and his more experienced colleagues will get the same chance.

"Whether this is your first two months as a teacher, or whether you have been teaching for three years, everyone is being validated and getting some type of raise," he said.

On Wednesday, the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators said the increases are a move that the General Assembly should have made long ago.

"Instead of using a nearly $450 million surplus budget to invest in the resources our students need to succeed, state lawmakers ... chose cutting taxes for corporations, funneling more money into private school vouchers and denying more than 60,000 educators a permanent pay raise," Rodney Ellis said in a statement.

Hoyt, a member of the NCAE, said he is not sure about the role of salary on teacher retention, but hopes that the state fights to be competitive.

"Other professionals that are certified, you go through schooling and rigorous training, and you get pay equal to that," he said. "I think part of that is we put our money where our mouth is."

The new Wake County salary schedule is part of a five-year plan to meet or exceed the pay offered in similar districts nationwide, according to officials. All changes are retroactive July 1, 2015.

In Cumberland County, Associate Superintendent of Business Operations Clyde Locklear said his teachers also receive supplemental pay.

"Cumberland County Schools does provide a local supplement to all certified teaching staff. The supplement is a fixed dollar amount and is graduated based on teacher experience," he said in a statement.

2 Comments

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  • John McCray Oct 22, 2015
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    Tom, first, that is 1,000 new teachers, not hires for previously held positions, unless that is what you meant. Also, "turnover" is broken into several categories, including retirement-driven, in-district changes, out-of-district changes, and those leaving the profession all together. So what type of turnover do your numbers reference? Lastly, you have compared North Carolina's turnover rate to Wake Counties (one of the better places to teach), and claimed that people are lying because the numbers (NC's rate vs. Wake Counties) don't match.

    In regards to taxes, Property taxes were held to a lower rate of .534 after property values were reappraised in 2008. In the last two years, they have risen 14.2%, up to a rate of .6145, the rate in 2007? .678. So in the last ten years, the rates have actually gone down ,albeit as property values were appraised higher.

    As far as math, where do you see that $16m is an annual increase or that it is compounded?

  • Tom Boswell Oct 22, 2015
    user avatar

    The lies and deceit again coming from Wake County School Board, Commissioners and Merrill. The NEA states the national turnover rate is 17%. North Carolina's rate is 14%. This year Wake hires 1,000 new teachers out of 10,000. This is a turnover rate of 10% but this includes new positions so based on Wake's growth rate it is considerably less than 10%. Our real estate taxes have increased by over 15.3% in two years. Look at the future increases. In November of 2016 they will be presenting a billion dollar school bond that will increase it another 11%. The school system’s plan to increase new teachers’ salaries would step up $16 million per year for five years, adding up to $80 million annually by the fiscal year 2020. Along with other costs, that could create deficits of $20 million per year. If 48 million increased our taxes 7% % this year than just salary increases of 16 million will increase our rate 2.3% a year for the next five years. Add these up.