Wake County hopes new salary plan improves teacher retention
Posted October 21, 2015
Updated October 22, 2015
Cary, N.C. — 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.