Teacher raises tops wish list for NC school leaders

Posted January 13, 2015

— Dozens of North Carolina school superintendents gathered Tuesday in Raleigh, on the eve of the 2015 legislative session, to put forward their priority list to lawmakers.

The meeting marked the first time all 115 superintendents across the state have collaborated on a policy agenda, and they said they hope banding together will help their voices be heard more clearly in the General Assembly.

"If we’re not talking about setting agendas, it gets set for us," said Jim Merrill, superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. "It’s important that at least we have positions on things that we consider to be important."

Their recommendations include raising teacher pay in North Carolina so the average salary is in the top 10 percent nationwide and increasing per-pupil spending, now 48th in the U.S., to the national average by 2025.

"North Carolina must be competitive from a salary point of view to attract the best and the brightest," Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till said.

State Funding is likely to be very tight this year, with the state budget already running about $200 million behind projections.

"We do like setting high goals and aspirations, but we also want to balance it with the reality that we’re living in today," said Mark Edwards, superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District and president of the North Carolina School Superintendents Association.

"We believe that we have leaders in this state who want to create this shared vision, and we can work together on it," Edwards said. "Part of the challenge is trying to suggest goals that are achievable goals that are reasonable with the revenue projections that we have long term."

Merrill said some of the reforms the group is calling for are simple, such as reducing the number of required tests, giving schools more flexibility in their operations and changing how educators plan their lessons.

"Not everything has to have a dollar sign attached to it in order to make change," he said. "So, I don't want anybody to get hung up on the funding – 'Well, if you can't pay for it, you can't do it.' I don't believe that."


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  • rcherry132004 Jan 16, 2015

    Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.

    Maybe in elementary school. In high school we average 30 per class if we are lucky. We have between 75-100 kids a day to "edusit". I have had as many as 42 in a class and I am a science teacher. So shooting low 75 X $9.50 = $712.50 X 180 = $128,250. Oh and by the way, I have 17 years of teaching experience and a masters degree and I don't make $50,000.

  • juliomercado Jan 15, 2015

    View quoted thread

    You are correct but with one caveat, teachers reaching the 30 year mark now max out at 50,000. This is creating an exodus of these same folks right now and it will get worse. Essentially, the state will be paying a full pension to teachers that leave and work in other states AND have to replace that same teacher with someone new. This means paying twice the benefits, a new 35,000 salary each year, and spending about 5,000 to train the new teacher. It is actually cheaper to give our 30 year teachers a modest 2 % raise than it is to replace him or her. If you do the math you will find the cost of 'replacing' a 30 year teacher and paying them a pension is about $90,000 MORE than giving them a small yearly increase. In other words if just 1000 of these teachers leave the state and start drawing their pension, it will cost NC over $9,000,000 in just 5 years. THIS should be the main focus on teacher raises, IMHO.

  • REPUBLICAN HANS Jan 14, 2015

    I thought Gov. McCrory's original plan was a commonsense reform for teacher pay.

  • Bill Brasky Jan 14, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Totally agree with you in regards to a higher cost of living. However, it does show if you pay teachers well, it will show with their students. We can at the very least average out with the rest of the US. Otherwise teachers will leave to neighboring states.

  • smdrn Jan 14, 2015

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    This is somewhat true. But we don't have the salaries for ALL jobs in NC to support what teachers and all other professions make in NJ, NY, and CT. And don't forget that property tax will be 10 to 15 times higher than it is now. Are teachers salaries in NC the greatest? No, but neither is anyone else's.

    When I graduated from nursing school here in NC back in 1999, starting base pay for a new grad was around $30k. Had I started in NJ, it would have been $55k. Same exact job. This is our reality in NC. I'm not saying teachers don't deserve to be paid well. You have to be realistic and look at the whole picture.

  • Ashley Moore Jan 14, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    The US also demands every child be educated. Those countries we constantly compare to do not. Easy to see why we fall behind when we educate everyone with the end goal being college. Some people aren't going to college, and that is okay.

    If I had to guess, the US also leads the way in apathy when it comes to education. There are a lot of students who just don't care.

  • Olenc Native Jan 14, 2015
    user avatar

    The average salary in NC is nearly 5K less than it was in 1989.

    How can we stay competitive?

    Source - http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_211.60.asp

  • Olenc Native Jan 14, 2015
    user avatar

    The average teacher salary in the US was 56K. In NC, teachers max out at 55K.

    NC teachers will never even earn the national average under the current system. NC will lose teachers. That's why EVERY superintendent wants to boost pay.

    Source: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_211.60.asp

  • Will Sonnett Jan 14, 2015
    user avatar

    Certainly education should not be the primary focus of the State's tax dollars. Teachers, especially veteran teachers who got very little in the last raise, deserve pay that reflects their experience, expertise, and the responsibility that we place upon them by entrusting our children to them. But the final quote in the story ("So, I don't want anybody to get hung up on the funding – 'Well, if you can't pay for it, you can't do it.' I don't believe that.") shows just how out of touch these over-paid educrats are. How someone whose annual salary and perks surpass $250,000.00 could say something so idiotic is amazing.

  • archmaker Jan 14, 2015

    It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do -- babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.
    That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day. So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.

    However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

    LET'S SEE....

    That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year.

    The average teacher's salary nationwide is $50,000.

    $50,000/180 days = $277.77 per day / 30 students = $9.25 / 6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student -- a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)

    WHAT A DEAL!!!!