Fact check: Examining raises for North Carolina teachers

North Carolina teacher (file)

RALEIGH,N.C. (WNCN) – The new North Carolina budget, signed Friday by Gov. Pat McCrory, is good news for less experienced teachers but not so much for those with more experience.

Teacher pay has been a huge issue in North Carolina in recent years, with teachers receiving negligible raises in the years of the Great Recession. The Houston school district even came to North Carolina to poach teachers in May 2014.

In the new budget, all teachers will get a $750 bonus this year, but not in the second year. The bonus was a compromise – the House was pushing for a 2 percent raise, and McCrory even released a video in August, telling teachers, “I am working very, very hard with the legislature to continue the pay raises.”

Meanwhile, newer teachers will see base salary increases, but teachers with five years of experience or more will not.

Salaries for teachers with up to four years experience will rise, from $33,000 to $35,000.

Base salaries for teachers are paid by the state. Here is the base annual pay for teachers, based on years of experience:

  • 0-4 years:  $35,000
  • 5-9 years:  $36,500
  • 10-14 years: $40,000
  • 15-19 years: $43,500
  • 20-24 years:  $46,500
  • 25-plus years:  $50,000

Some school systems like Wake County pay teachers a supplement. Johnston County, for example, pays a supplement, so a teacher with 10 years experience would get an extra $3,800 from the county. And a teacher with 20 years experience would get an extra $6,975.

The budget drew mixed reviews, as one might expect.

Senate leader Phil Berger said the raises for less experienced teachers “fulfills a promise that was made by state leaders last year.”

The budget drew a blistering response from Rodney Ellis, the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

“The General Assembly’s budget doesn’t come close to meeting the needs of our students and public schools,” Ellis said in a statement. “North Carolina can’t afford to lose a generation of students by disregarding the resources they need to be successful. With a per-pupil spending ranking of 46th and an average teacher pay ranking of 42nd, state lawmakers wasted an opportunity to invest a nearly $450 million surplus in our students.

“While we appreciate that no further cuts are being made to teacher assistants, since more than 7,000 positions have already been eliminated, other parts of this budget go in the wrong direction. The disrespect for educators continues by failing to provide a professional pay increase and by tucking a provision in the back of the budget that would limit an educator’s ability to be a leader in their association and advocate for what’s best for our students.”

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