Teacher raises could cost local taxpayers

Posted July 16, 2014

State lawmakers still can’t come to an agreement over how large of a pay raise they want to give public school teachers.

House leaders want to give teachers an average six percent raise, while Senate leaders want to give them about 11 percent. But the Senate plan would cut more than 6,000 teacher assistant jobs to help pay for that larger salary boost.

It’s a concession that many school leaders say they can’t get behind. They want raises, but not by laying off thousands of teacher assistants.

Jeff Nash, a spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro city schools, says large raises also present another tricky predicament.

“While we certainly want teachers to get a raise, and that’s a wonderful situation, it does present a financial burden on a district,” he said. “We have to find that local supplement, so that’s more money we have to pay out.”

North Carolina has a state teacher pay scale, but each local school district can add a supplement to help recruit teachers. That supplement can range depending on years of service or other factors decided by the district.

If the state base salary goes up, then the supplement will theoretically go up. Many school districts have already approved their state budgets for 2014-15, so they would have to go back and try to find money to go toward raises if they are higher than expected.

School districts may also want to match raises for employees who are paid entirely with local funds.

Heath Morrison, superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, says district leaders would have to ask for additional funding from county commissioners or cut about $6 to $7 million in their budget to match 11 percent raises under the Senate plan.

"We [will] need to do is to adjust our budgets to whatever the salary increases are at the state level for our employees paid by both local and federal funds," said Morrison.

How much and how to fund any teacher pay raise has been a sticking point in the on-going state budget negotiations.

This report first appeared on WUNC/North Carolina Public Radio as part of their education coverage.

Reema Khrais is the 2014 Fletcher Fellow focused on Education Policy Reporting. The Fletcher Fellowship is a partnership between WUNC
and UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication funded in part by the Fletcher Foundation.


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  • WralCensorsAreBias Jul 23, 2014

    Good luck collecting it. We're fed up and even though we love teachers, we need to keep our money. We're not paying another dime. Cut welfare and other liberal programs to pay for it, or show up at my door and see if I hand it over.

  • Marciana Paul Jul 18, 2014
    user avatar

    And teachers hold futures in their hands, something a DMV or courts worker doesn't do.
    ARE U serious..court workers help keep criminals off the street, how is that not holding our future in hand???l. Also having an education no longer guarantees a good future. Besides most of the stuff we learn in school do not apply to real like...instead of teaching basic education in JH and HS at that level our children should be learning applicable job skills, instead of trigonometry...ijs

  • beenc2 Jul 17, 2014

    10% cut for one child failing? 25% for 3 or more? How will this be measured? Where are the bonuses for "performing?" To what standard? I'm SO SICK of being accused of not working. Are you suggesting the General Assembly define the "passing standard?" They can't even agree on a set of standards! The State is withdrawing from Common Core because it's associated with Obama. There is no credible research stating why this withdraw should even happen. The last thing I read was about "state sovereignty." I would argue the politician who used that word doesn't even know what sovereignty means.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 16, 2014

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    A great number of the other state employees probably aren't necessary.

    And teachers hold futures in their hands, something a DMV or courts worker doesn't do.

  • btneast Jul 16, 2014

    And that is due to the teachers? WRONG Answer. The educated children are from parents that actually care about their children. Not a higher paid teacher I never said it was ALL due to a higher paid teacher. I think blindly throwing money at our educational system is foolish. The person I was responding to wanted to know why he should have to pay anything towards schools.....and its a fact that a poor school system will depress property values. Giving teachers more money will not magically make a school better, but common sense tells you that the better teachers will eventually end up in the better paying systems.

  • jackaroe123 Jul 16, 2014

    No kids? Support schools, support welfare programs, support prison programs, or repair a broken window on your home and buy a new TV every couple months. Seems to me supporting schools to begin w/ is the wisest choice. Consider it insurance. Do you ask for a refund for every month you didn't use it?

    Why teachers and not all other state employees? B/c we make up over 30% of the entire state budget, the largest single % of all (though that % has been consistently shrinking for years). We also have a higher average educational requirement than other state employees. Teachers are more than happy to respect and support other state employees, but if you want to whine about teachers, not support teachers, and complain that we get so much attention, there isn't any way to avoid the blunt explanation that we deserve more attention. We'd like to be humble and avoid saying that, but if you force us to go there...

  • dsdaughtry Jul 16, 2014

    isn't this "educational lottery" supposed to be taking care of that?

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 16, 2014

    The bottom line is folks, pay now or pay later.
    Every SUCCESSFUL business owner knows to keep one's GOOD employees takes yearly raises that will at least keep their pay commensurate with current market rates.
    Our legislators have gone several years without doing that meaning other education markets across the country are paying more than ours is and GOOD teachers are leaving to work in THOSE instead of in OURS which will further depreciate the value of education in our state when GOOD ones leave with the remainder being mediocre or worse.
    Because past politicians let this lapse, it's time to make it up, even if it costs more now, because the longer this goes on, it's going to cost even more and more with every year that passes, to bring the pay of our teachers even close to what other states are offering.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 16, 2014

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    Yeah, there wouldn't be enough doctors and nurses to attend to the sick in this country because only a few parents would be able to afford to send their kids to school let alone to places of higher learning.

    Where would you be if you got sick then?

    Plus, if fewer are educated to provide those services (along with every other service provided by those with an education), then you can bet the cost of those services would be higher than the majority could afford to pay.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 16, 2014

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    One's personal responsibilities include to the society in which one lives, not just to them and their immediate family you know.

    Had the police officer or EMT worker that is sent to help you not had the education to do so, where would you be left in your time of need?