One-third of NC teachers would get raises under governor's budget

Gov. Pat McCrory's budget would follow through on a promise to raise salaries for starting teachers, but the bulk of educators would see no raises under McCrory's plan.

Posted Updated
Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — About a third of North Carolina teachers would see state-funded raises under Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal, according to a analysis by the Department of Public Instruction.

According to the DPI breakdown,13,824 of those would be relatively new teachers – in their first five years of work – or about 15 percent of the 90,646 state-funded teachers expected in the 2015-16 budget. Those new teachers would see their state-funded minimum salary rise to $35,000.

Another 14,597 teachers would see salary bumps due to moving up on the streamlined salary schedule that was adopted as part of the 2014-15 budget. That new salary schedule moved away from a pay bump every year to a seven-tiered plan that gives bigger pay bumps between steps but on which a teacher remains on the same step for five years at a time.

Counting those early career teachers and those moving up a step, as well as new teachers who would would start in 2015, some 35 percent of the state-funded teacher workforce would be affected.

During his budget rollout last week, McCrory struggled to answer a question about the average raise a state teacher might receive in the coming year. He said that question was based on an old way of thinking, when teachers moved up a step every year.

"We're changing the basic paradigm of how we evaluate and distribute our limited tax dollars," McCrory said. "The new paradigm is directing our monies toward where the highest need is."

McCrory's budget does set aside $5 million for 2015-16 and $10 million in 2016-17 to "reward high-quality teachers," but it's unclear how that money would be distributed across the workforce.

The budget also contains $1,000 hold-harmless payments for senior teachers who would otherwise lose money under the new salary schedules.

In reacting to the McCrory budget, advocates with the North Carolina Association of Educators said it didn't do enough for mid-career and older teachers.

"Supporting beginning teachers is important, but if our students are going to be successful, we can’t ignore tens of thousands of experienced educators who are teaching our children every day," said NCAE President Rodney Ellis.

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