State Senate leaders are putting forth a plan to increase average teacher salaries in the state to almost $55,000 as well as cutting the time for career teachers to reach the top of their pay scale by more than half.
The increases would add $538 million to base teacher pay and be phased in over the next two years.
“Just one month ago, Senate Republicans announced our support for Gov. (Pat) McCrory’s goal to raise teacher pay to $50,000 on average in North Carolina, and we are proud this plan not only meets his goal, but exceeds that goal by almost $5,000,” Senate Leader Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said. “Under this plan teachers will see their average pay surge to nearly $55,000 for the first time in state history.”
The move would be a third installment of raises that the state has passed for teachers over the last few budgets.
“This [means] average teacher pay will be up almost $10,000, more than 20 percent, since the 2013-2014 school year,” Berger said. “Over the next two years the plan will dramatically increase teacher pay from $47,783 to $54,224, providing North Carolina public school teachers an average $4,700 permanent pay raise over that two-year period. And now remember this is on top of teacher pay raises that we passed in the 2014 and the 2015 budgets. According to the most current (National Educators Association) data, North Carolina will climb 23 spots to 24th in the nation and number one in the Southeast. “
Berger said that the changes would encourage teachers to make a lifelong commitment to continuing their careers in North Carolina.
The changes would also further restructure the step program for salaries installed by Democrats before Republicans took over after the 2010 elections.
“As you know, we have been working for years to restructure the archaic step system put in place by the Democrats that required teachers to spend more than 30 years in the classroom before reaching the top of their profession as far as the pay scale is concerned,” Berger said. “Under this new proposal, teachers will reach the top of the scale after just 15 years in the classroom, giving them a significant boost in pay and increased earning potential over the course of their career.”
Berger said the funding for the increases comes from the budget without any tax increases and without cutting any teaching assistant positions.
Under the plan, if it is passed, teachers’ pay would rise an average of $9,234 since 2013.
Under the new pay scale, a career teacher would receive almost $200,000 more in compensation over his or her career compared to the 2013 pay scale.
The full proposal will be included in the Senate budget, set to be released next Tuesday, according to Berger. Votes are expected on the budget next week.
Until the budget is released, Berger has directed people to www.ncteacherraise.com for more information about the salary increases.