Local News

Cumberland County: Wake teacher supplements hurt other districts

Posted October 22, 2015 10:30 a.m. EDT
Updated October 22, 2015 6:24 p.m. EDT

— Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till Jr. says higher teacher salaries offered by Wake County complicate the ability of surrounding districts to attract and retain educators.

"The whole state of North Carolina is faced with a challenge, and that’s why I’m complimentary of Wake County and what they’re doing," Till said. "They’re taking it upon themselves to find dollars inside their county to begin to move towards a competitive pay schedule.”

Wake County on Tuesday approved a $16 million local supplement to fund increased teacher salaries across the board, with raises ranging from $900 for less-experienced teachers to $2,250 for those with 30 or more years in the classroom.

Before the raise, teachers in Wake County made an average of about $2,400 more per year than those in Cumberland County, Till said.

Teacher pay across the state is a mix of a state-mandated minimum plus any local supplement approved by a county board of commissioners. The current baseline is $35,000 per year for a new teacher and a minimum of $50,000 for a teacher with 25 years of experience.

“Until we have a comprehensive look at the teacher shortage in North Carolina and do a better job of paying, it’s going to get worse. It’s not going to get better,” Till said.

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 to July 1, 2015.

Cumberland County Associate Superintendent of Business Operations Clyde Locklear said teachers there get a local supplement, but he was hesitant to offer specifics.

"The supplement is a fixed dollar amount and is graduated based on teacher experience," he said in a statement.