Average teacher pay, textbook funding, class sizes: NC debuts new school finances website

Posted April 25, 2019 12:19 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2019 1:49 p.m. EDT

— The average teacher salary in Wake County public schools is $58,403. But in neighboring Franklin County, teachers are paid, on average, nearly $9,000 less at $49,805. Those are some of the school finance statistics reported on North Carolina's new Financial Transparency Dashboard.

The site debuted Thursday and shows financial info for every school system in the state, including average teacher salaries, textbook funding and class sizes. Similar to the state's School Report Card website, the new dashboard will allow state and local leaders, researchers, news media, community members, and educators and parents to learn more about the funding that goes into, and is spent on, the state’s K-12 public schools.

"One of our goals is greater transparency," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said in a statement. "With this easy-to-use tool, you now have the facts about how our NC education system spends the over $15 billion per year dedicated to supporting students, educators, and schools. You can even discover how tax dollars are utilized in your county."

North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell says the new website "highlights the fact that most teachers are not making the average."

"The Superintendent and Majority NCGA want to take credit for the local county supplements," Jewell said. "We also have many experienced educators who were grandfathered in for advanced degree pay that also skew the actual reality of the low pay teachers are receiving. The fact is the NCGA eliminated master pay, longevity pay, and created a broken salary schedule beginning at $32,000 and capping at $52,000."

According to the new dashboard:

  • The average teacher salary in N.C. is $54,000 per school year. In N.C., the median teacher salary per school year is more than North Carolina's median household income per year ($50,320).
  • The average salary for a beginning teacher in N.C. is $39,300 per school year, which is more than the average starting salary for other college graduates and more than the median wage for individuals in North Carolina.
    • $47,258 per year is the median wage of a person in North Carolina who has obtained a bachelor’s degree as his or her highest level of education completed.
    • $26,400 per year is what the average person makes one year after graduating from a UNC system school with a bachelor’s degree.
    • $30,326 per year is the median wage for an individual in N.C.
  • The state sends $1,300 per teacher to schools for textbooks and supplies each school year.
  • North Carolina has more than 2,500 public schools that serve more than 1.5 million students.
  • The state's largest school district (Wake County) serves almost 160,000 students, making it the 15th largest district in the nation.
  • North Carolina’s 115 school districts receive mostly state funding, while other states are divided into many smaller school districts that rely more heavily on local funding. (Pennsylvania, for example, has 500 school districts.)

The NC School Finances site was developed in partnership with the Government Data Analytics Center of the N.C. Department of Information Technology and Cary-based SAS. It's part of the multimillion-dollar, multi-year School Business Systems Modernization program that the General Assembly has funded to modernize systems including financial and payroll information, human resources information, and capital and repairs and renovations planning information systems at both the state and school district levels.