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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As local education administrators call for state lawmakers to increase spending in schools, Sen. Thom Goolsby says the group he affectionately calls “educrats” needs to do its homework.

But educators say it’s the senator who needs to check his facts.

Southeastern North Carolina’s biggest school system will start the 2013 school year without a few of its top teachers, including last year’s Teacher of the Year, who left the education field due to what they called lack of competitive pay.

“When you lose a young teacher of that caliber, it has a tremendous impact,” New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Tim Markley said. “When they tell their story about having to leave because their pay wasn’t enough to help them support their family, that’s a message to other young folks entering the profession.”

Sen. Goolsby (R-9th District) recently took issue with claims like that, pointing out that the average teacher in North Carolina makes close to $46,000 a year with benefits pushing that total closer to $60,000.

“North Carolina, as far as state government goes, is No. 11 In the country as far as funding,” Goolsby said. “Where North Carolina falls down is on local funding for education, but you never hear that from the ‘educrats’ and the (North Carolina Association of Educators).”

Goolsby says that if people are concerned, it is their local government that needs to step up.

“That’s the way other states do it that spend more,” Goolsby said. “That’s the way North Carolina can do it if the people want it, if the city councils and county commissions are willing to do it.”

But Dr. Markley says that’s simply not possible.

“The Constitution of North Carolina is pretty clear that the foundation for a sound basic education rests with the state,” he said.

Teachers in North Carolina received a 1.2-percent pay increase last year. It was their first pay increase in more than five years.

Comment on this Story

  • Lynn Shoemaker

    You get to vote him OUT in 2014…sooner than you think.

  • Carrie

    There is no Dublin County, there is a Dublin town in NC. This is a prime example of why we need our teachers to be highly qualified and receive a fair salary which is not the case. I am a first year teacher I make 33,800 a year. I do not participate in the benefits program for two reasons 1. I receive benefits through the military and 2. I cannot afford the pay in to participate in the benefit program, even if my medical is “free” I still have to pay a 35.00 copay each time I see a doc. That adds up if there are medical issues because that is 35.00 out of pocket for each visit. The state “free” benefit package is for only the educator not their family and is a 70/30 benefit. If I did participate and say it is around $14,000 in benefits then my “salary would be 47,800 which is still low for what educators are responsible for and what goes into educating children. The state is also going to be cutting paying teachers for advance degrees. So after 2014 or so teachers who did not have their Master’s degrees prior will not be paid for career education advancement. They are even considering cutting paying teachers who get their National Board Certification in the future. New polls put salaries for teachers at 50th in a country of 50 states, Hawaii is right there with us. It is only a matter of time before the quality of education matches where our salaries fall across the country. North Carolina does not permit labor unions. Not that labor unions are the end all to fighting for teacher rights because they aren’t. We need to vote these people out of office and put progressive leaders in place who value education and know how to allocate monies accordingly. Gov. Hunt was an outstanding governor who knew education was important and knew not only education was important but also how to provide local resources to counties and school systems to empower our youth, especially our “at-risk” youth.

  • SamILM

    Once again, the highly esteemed Senator (so smartly dressed) and full of distain proves that he knows more than professionals in the field. Say Senator, where do your children attend school? A challenge – let’s have 5 public schools in NHC invite him to tour their schools; sit in classrooms w/o teacher’s aides and count the inventory that is provided by parents and teachers. Mr. Goolsby, you are nothing more than Art Pope’s puppet. You lie. You cheat people out of their money. You will meet your maker one day.

  • WilmingtonTruthTeller

    He looks like a 70 year old ‘Dennis The Menace’.

  • Vog46

    I’m not playing spelling police here (Lord knows I can mis-spell just about anything) but it’s DUPLIN County, not DuBlin.

    Vog

  • Guest2020

    NC has a Dublin County. My husband worked for the state until they cut his program out of the budget. This is the second job in three years that he has lost due to state budget cuts. I get so tired of people who make more than the average salary, complain about how bad they have it. They need to thank the good Lord they have a job in this economy.

  • Guest123123

    Texas has one of the top economies in the United States. Probably a good state to follow. I know lets follow the likes California and Mass. Then we really will be going back in time.

  • Guest123123

    No you are wrong. I was a state employee for 17 years and my benefit package was valued at $13,676. By the way Dublin is in Ireland.

  • Guestwho

    Now that we’re all aboard the Goolsby time machine heading quickly for 1950s who needs sound modern education? By 1950s standards we should all be just fine.

    Wake up NC, with a triple-R General Assembly we’ve quickly become the laughing stock of politics. Watch out Texas here we come.

  • Blame Game

    But Dr. Markley says that’s simply not possible.

    “The Constitution of North Carolina is pretty clear that the foundation for a sound basic education rests with the state,” he said.

    So the Local Leader of our schools says only the State GOV can give a sound education? Why is he there then? How much does he make a year to say the State should provide?

    Wow.

  • Vog46

    Clearly states it is the States responsibility to fund education and use fees, penalties and fines to do so. The county in which those fines are levied are to be used for education.
    Thom has apparently forgotten this. Some of these fees and fines are set by the state, not the county.

    He is however right that we COULD use local funds – if the county deemed it appropriate – but – considering how anti tax/fine the tea party is I am surprised he even thought of this as it goes against the tea party platform.
    What he is doing is proposing a “tax and spend” policy at he county and city level.
    Politicians are all alike – they like to spent other people’s money.

    Vog

  • An Educator

    I am going to say it, Goolsby is an idiot who has no clue! First off, to say NC teachers have a yearly benefit package of $14,000 a year is laughable and to assign cost (and blame) to local counties is simply saying that not all children deserve the same education. How can a poor county such as Pender or Dublin offer the same package incentives and extra pay to teachers as say New Hanover, Wake, or Mecklenburg county? So, you don’t live in a well-to-do area? Your children don’t deserve as good an education as say, Goolsby’s children do living in a wealthier county . Also, I guess, if you are educator, you better worry more about where you live than care about any child you might teach. AND this is Goolsby wanting the taxpayer to FURTHER foot the bill! How are these local counties supposed to pay for this? That is right – RAISE taxes. Mr. Goolsby, your condescending attitude and speech is getting a bit old, especially since YOU don’t know what you are talking about!

  • GuestTim

    Dr. Markley should stay away from politics and tend to his job. Senator Goolsby has raised a valid point: that NC spends a lot on education–more than most states–but local governments spend nothing compared to other states. Dr. Markley simply dismisses this out of hand. He would rather take a cheap shot at Senator Goolsby who is making a lot of sense on education spending. Markley has no business doing the bidding of the Rev. Barber’s Moron Monday antics! I urge the school board to restrain Markley’s partisan political activity.

  • Jack Fryar

    I cannot wait to vote this tool and his lunatic friends out of office. 2016 can’t get here soon enough.

  • GuestToday

    Like most of our current politicians of all persuasion, here was an opportunity for Mr. Goolsby to rise above politics but no, like all wingnuts, he has to call names – “educrats?” Really? THAT really advances the conversation – NOT.

    Boot his a** next election, he doesn’t even seem to have a working understanding of the State’s constitution regarding education funding.

  • elizabeth woodside

    Someone ask Mr. Goolsby where his children will be going to school. He sent pictures of his young offspring to us when he was campaigning, implying his interest in the welfare of children. So far he has helped: gut head-start program that improved graduation rates and reduced incarceration. He trashed teacher’s unions despite our weak union in a right to work state. And now he has insulted public schools as ineffective and poorly managed. Is he sending his darlings to a private school with vouchers he helped to siphon away from public schools?

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