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Teacher Pay Plan Raises Eyebrows of Other State Workers

Posted February 26, 2007

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— Gov. Mike Easley and former Gov. Jim Hunt have each called public education his top priority. This year, in an effort to move North Carolina teachers closer to the national average salary, Easley is proposing a 5 percent average pay hike for educators.

For other state workers, he’s asking 2½ percent.

If Easley’s plan is approved, it would be the 12th year in a row that teachers got more of a raise than other state workers. They all work for the state of North Carolina, and the disparity often creates resentment.

Deborah Rosenella teaches fifth grade at Wake County's Swift Creek Elementary. After 15 years in the classroom, she said she shows up for the children, not for the money.

“As a professional, we should be more equitable with other professions,” Rosenella said Monday.

Cindy Honeycutt is an administrative officer for the Department of Revenue. With 14 years in as a state worker, she also wants what she feels is fair pay.

“It just kind of makes you feel like you're not being paid for what you do, and it makes the morale very, very low,” Honeycutt said.

The governor's budget may chip away more of that morale.

“It just makes us angry a little bit that we work just as hard as they do,” Honeycutt said.

“I'd like to see everyone get more,” Rosenella said, explaining that she doesn't see it as teachers versus other state workers. She does defend the value of her profession, however.

“It's hard to say my job is more important than anyone else's job, but, I tell my children all the time that I think have the single most important job there is—maybe other than the president.

Honeycutt doesn't disagree, but she points out that state government is full of valuable employees who don't teach.

“They deserve what they get, too, but in the same respect, we do too. We should be treated equally,” Honeycutt said.

Non-teaching employees also argue that teachers qualify for bonuses that the rest of the state work force cannot get.

Teachers respond that their average pay is still more than $5,000 below the national average.

It will be up to legislators to weigh the arguments and sort it out.

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  • 1Moms_View Mar 10, 2007

    Edited to say: Teachers are frequently seen working at our school until 5pm or later.

    Too many people assume that teachers leave work as soon as school buses depart taking children home. This just isn't reality. Teachers are frequently working until then if not later.

  • 1Moms_View Mar 10, 2007

    I wish the general public had a greater understanding of what a teacher's work day ACTUALLY is. Too many people assume that teachers leave work as soon as school buses depart taking children home. This just isn't reality. Teachers are frequently working until then if not later. Most work at home after famiy responsibilities are completed at night. On weekends, I spend an average of ten hours preparing lessons, grading papers, updating my class website, letters to parents, etc. This doesn't even cover meetings, workshops, or school functions which require attendance outside of the 7:40-3:30 "work day".

    Too many people assume that teachers have 2 months off in summer as a big vacation. Most of us work on continueing our education during the summmer. We take classes paid for out of our own pockets in order to update our skills and knowledge. Many go into school during the summer to prepare curriculum materials, lessons, and other supplies needed for the upcoming school year.

  • lizkelly84 Mar 8, 2007

    I don't understand why everyone gets the same raise. Not all teachers are good ones. Raises should be based on merit and they should definantly get other incentives. We do have to take into account that they teach our children.

  • sdd82nd Mar 7, 2007

    I am sick of Teachers always getting more. They should make it equal for all state employees including teachers and then there would be no problem. Everyone would be happy. Well, almost!

    Chuck Norris invented Raises!!!!!!!

  • S82R Mar 6, 2007

    anybody noticed how many of these "state employee" and "teacher" posts were made during the hours of 8am-5pm....

  • RPD07 Mar 6, 2007

    You can opt to get a 12 month salary, they will just divide it up accordingly. Anyways, it makes sense to get paid for 10 months when you only work 10 months. If you want to get paid year round, then get a job that you work year round.

  • RPD07 Mar 6, 2007

    I graduated high school in '05. So that is pretty recent. I also went to a school that was not a middle/upper class school. I was in a school were whites were the minority of all the other races. It sounds like it is just your school that is having problems. Only if you are oblivious to society today, would a teacher not realize the types of kids are in schools now. But with all that you said, I have never seen or heard of that going on in my school. You make it sound like an everyday thing of being threatened and having kids walk in with guns and gang members intimidating others. If that is the case, that school needs to close. Also, you could move to a different school in another county that pays better. Like you said with LEO's, we made the choice to be in this field. Well, so did you. You do have control over which school you can go to, that is, if you are qualified enough to move to a better one.

  • coolmusicmom Mar 6, 2007

    I am a teacher. Some have posted about our summer's off. We are ten month employee's and get paid for ten months...I do like getting the raises and hard working teachers deserve the raise! The way raises are handed out is unfair. I get the same raise as any teacher no matter how good or bad a teacher I am...merit raises would be better.

  • oceanchild71 Mar 6, 2007

    They get no support from administration, (in fact, reprimand sheets get put into your file when you request normal things like requiring all students to have their ID's visible at all times and circulating a list of students who have been suspended and are not supposed to be on campus), the public wants to lynch teachers, the parents think precious Johnny can do no wrong, and the fricking president wants to pass unfunded mandates that either are impossible to consistently achieve every year without the school systems resorting to social engineering to meet the AYP. Teachers did not sign on for that mess. LEOs did sign on to deal with the worst of society. State troopers and teachers deserve the highest raises. Other LEO and firemen and EMT's are usually dealt with through county/city budgets, I believe.

  • oceanchild71 Mar 6, 2007

    RPD07: Yes, you do deal with much more violence on an everyday basis than teachers. Yes, LEOs deserve much more pay than they get (along with firemen and EMT's) for what they go through. However, you have to admit that when you signed on for the job, you knew there would be the "death, drugs, violence, terror and joy." Teachers did not sign on to have kids threaten their lives, bring guns to class, come to class stoned or otherwise on drugs, or bring in obvious gang-related items or try to intimidate other students and teachers with gang retaliation.
    Yes, teachers do know it is going to be tough. But when you honestly start thinking that it is only a matter of time before one of your students is the next one to not only bring a gun to school, but use it, that is a very scary thought. Especially when you approach your administration after several incidents and you are told your job is to teach and not to worry about that stuff. This is why teachers are leaving in droves.