WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Earlier this month Governor Pat McCrory said he wanted to increase pay for young teacher, and now the New Hanover County School Board could ask for millions in funding to make that possible.
“What it comes down to with the amount of time we put in is not equitable with the amount of pay that we earn,” said teacher Chris Meek.
With North Carolina teachers ranking 48th in pay Governor McCrory recently asked the general assembly to mandate a minimum annual salary of $33,000 next year for teachers with less than seven years of experience.
To prepare for that demand, a budget committee is proposing that the New Hanover County School Board ask the County Commission for close to $4.5 million more than they received last year.
“Teachers control the future more than anybody else,” said New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White. “It’s imperative that we pay them more than anybody else and it’s imperative that we pay them as much as we can afford.”
The district’s current proposal budgets for McCrory’s plan to be approved, and all New Hanover County teachers with more than seven years’ experience to receive a local supplement increase.
“Every county has teacher supplements, so our county would be adding on to that, and increasing our supplement,” said White. “We’re 34th in the state and we need to get that supplement high so we can retain and recruit the very best in North Carolina so that our kids can have the very best education that we can afford them.”
While New Hanover County teachers welcome the raise some question whether the school board is going about it the right way.
“When there asking the county to pick up the state’s responsibility it’s unfair to the county,” said Meek. “While it is a welcome increase for teachers in the county there are other employees in the county who have not received raises.”
A New Hanover County school’s spokeswoman says the board has a number of other options on the table if the general assembly doesn’t approve McCrory’s plan, or if the county can’t fund the full $4.5 million.