Local News

Granville County Commissioners Deny Request To Raise Teacher Pay

Posted May 21, 2003 12:35 p.m. EDT

— Good teachers are in great demand.

Most counties can't afford to attract or keep good teachers. That job's about to get tougher in Granville County, where commissioners turned down a request to raise teacher pay.

That may amount to an invitation for some teachers to leave.

On the playground and in the classroom, students in Granville County schools have seen many teachers come and go.

The amount of money counties add to what the state pays teachers varies -- and teachers tend to follow the higher offer.

"If we want our teachers to be here and stay," said school parent Xavier Wortham, "then we're going to have to have money coming from somewhere."

Wortham was at the County Commissioner's meeting Monday night, when the commissioners voted against a 2-percent increase in supplemental teacher pay. They said they didn't want to raise property taxes, but Wortham said everyone will pay a higher price later if they keep losing good teachers.

"Unless we have quality teachers who are willing to stay," Wortham said, "our children will suffer."

Though commissioners voted down the supplemental increase, they promised to revisit the issue in the near future. It all may hinge on the state coming through on its promises for future funding.

A new half-cent sales tax has eased the blow of state cuts but not enough. If more state money comes, then commissioners have more choices. But few are willing to bet on anything while the state budget is still up in the air.

If passed, Granville County's supplemental increase would have equaled what neighboring Vance County already pays teachers.

Granville also faces competition from richer systems in Wake and Durham Counties.

Meanwhile, despite being richer, Durham schools may have to cut more than 200 jobs. Most of the cuts are expected to be teachers.

According to the Durham County School System, 130 teachers -- about six percent of the entire system -- and 54 teaching assistants would lose their jobs.