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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The new state budget plan leaves teachers asking questions.

Republican leaders said yesterday the proposal will give educators their largest pay hike in state history, but some teachers may not see the change.

The state budget plan Republican leaders released Wednesday shows a seven-percent increase for teacher salaries. North Carolina Association of Educators Vice President Mark Jewell says that’s not really the case.

“It’s incorrect to say it’s a seven-percent increase, and it’s certainly not the largest increase that teachers have seen in North Carolina,” Jewell said.

The new pay schedule for teachers would increase beginning salaries from $30,800 to around $33,000.

“While it is a bump for beginning teachers, which we have whole-heartedly been advocating for, it lops off the top pay of teachers, our most veteran teachers,” Jewell said.

Click here to see a comparison of the salary schedules from the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division

The big question is at the other end of the pay scale, where veteran teachers will see relatively little increase if any at all. From years 25 through 30, the salary is frozen at $50,000, and longevity pay only kicks in at year 31 when you’re eligible to retire.

“This is a plan of “Hunger Game,'” Jewell said. “It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says Republican leaders took money from Health and Human Services to fund these raises.

“Even having done so, there is not enough money there to support the teacher salary increase,” she said by phone from Raleigh today. “It’s not equal for all teachers. At the end of the day public education and Health and Human Services are the biggest losers.”

Now Jewell has a bigger concern.

“This is not going to move us towards the national average,” he said. “That will not recruit teachers from other states.”

Hamilton says the Democrats in the House and the Senate did not have any input in this plan.

We reached out to the Republican leadership, but they have not responded to our requests.

Comment on this Story

  • Steve White

    It is interesting to note that the highest salary for a teacher with a BA degree and 36 years of service in NC is about $53,000. The median salary for all states for teachers with a BA (regardless of service) is also approximately $53,000.

  • Taxpayer, too

    Also, no teacher works only 9 months a year. That comment just shows how out of touch people are. We work a solid 10 months, plus many more hours of planning and training.

  • guesty

    The company I work for has frozen wage increases for the last 8 years. Except for top management, they still manage to get raises. And if I don’t like it, I’m free to look for work elsewhere.

  • Taxpayer, too

    How can I afford to go back to school to be an administrator when I’ve been making $30,800 for 4 years? Must be nice working in the private sector, getting cost-of-living adjustments and the possibility of advancements.

  • AmusedOne

    Somehow, I don’t think your little correction will enhance your overall argument.

  • worthless

    Sure, I can look for a teacher position in other states. Is that what you and the rest of North Carolinians want? Teachers to go to other states that value education? It sure seems that way, and many of the best teachers have obliged.

  • Guest000000

    …I guess you missed the “many more hours of planning and training.” Teaching is basically a year round job.

  • guesty

    It may take a large teacher departure to get the attention of the government.

  • Bill Blumke

    Becoming an administrator would take most teachers out of their preferred profession. They believe that remaining in a school system but not teaching in the classroom is another profession all of its own. It’s not ONLY about earning income. If it were, a large proportion of teachers would leave school systems to to earn elsewhere. Many do just that.

  • Erlkoenig

    Must be nice working for government where you really don’t work that hard, make good money, have holidays off that rival Belgium, and near total job security.

  • Guest2020

    Teachers are not the only state employees who haven’t been getting raises.

  • Erlkoenig

    Then why do the teachers I talk to mention their summer breaks? Teachers make good money. It’s obvious.

  • Dedicated teacher

    Because the hours that I have invested in the classroom and away from working with my own children at night while preparing to teach and raise societies children during that ten months is far greater than your 12 months in the private sector. So before you stereotype all teachers about half working, know your role. I am sick of hearing the public barf about teachers not having any work load. I don’t know what school system you are a part of, but it’s not my system. I have worked in the private sector, I have worked in the factories and the mental stress from teaching is far greater than any private sector physical or mental stress. But, my reward comes from the successful children that return after having overcome the childhood of uneducated parents, and tell me that I am the reason for their education and success. Just remember, ignorance breeds ignorance and reproduces ignorance. Some of us help break the cycle.

  • Concerned educator

    I understand that the teaching profession is not one that will create mass amounts of wealth, but at some point people should be paid according to that work and contribution. Unless you will born under a rock, at some point you were taught by a qualified educator. If you were not given those basic instructions, that basic education, that so-called basic knowledge, where would we all be today? In my opinion disrespecting a teacher is equivalent to slapping the hand that feeds you. I just can’t see how others can be so self-centered and self-absorbed to not see this simple fact. I suggest we all remember where we came from and who it was that helped us get there. Pay teachers what they’re worth or you’ll simply lose them all or at least the quality ones! And when that happens I dare anyone to complain that the quality of education in the great state of North Carolina has gone down! I’m just saying!!

  • Guest000000

    The extra hours and training occur during the school year, when many teachers put in 50-60 hours per week. So I guess they do enjoy their 7 weeks off in the summer. I wish you had valued your education more when you were in school.

  • AmusedOne

    Of course, most honored guest, that only apply to guest name, not actual personage.

    So sorry, but I did not miss “planning and training” comment. I most wisely chose to do honorable thing and simply ignore it. Apparently Glasshopper, you are unaware that many, many, many of people in the real world are also doing “many more hours of planning and training” just as the instructors of children are doing. These other many people are unfortunately working twelve months of year. Some would say that is even more months.

    If all are doing planning and training and teachers only work ten months compared to twelve, then I am guessing that that you would be saying that others are working even more than “a year round job”?

  • LRoyal

    You said teachers “don’t work that hard?” Spend one week in a classroom and go home with the teacher in the evening and over the weekend and see how hard they work!!

  • Andy Dudley

    Yes teachers work 10 months, and they get paid for 10 months- months 11 and 12 are not paid- unless you take less money for the 10 months to STRETCHHHHHHHHHHHH out your paycheck for the summer. Holidays are taken out of personal leave, days that you can build up over a period of time. Teachers work well beyond the “work day”. Conferences with parents in the evenings, before school, and even on weekends are common.Teachers stay for activities after school, which are non-compensated. Many things teachers use in the classroom are paid for out of their own pockets. No, teachers are not paid well – I am a veteran of 40 years and I bring home about $2800 a month. If you know any math, that corresponds to about $700 a week. During the school year I am at school at least 60 hours a week and work at home on school related matters for at least another 20 – and that’s a conservative estimate. So that actually averages out to less than $10.00 per hour of “net” income.Even when figuring hourly rates on “gross” income I average about $15.00 per hour. Now with the new budget I will actually receive a pay CUT because my longevity is gone. The only thing I can say to the people who say teachers are well paid is to go into a classroom and sub for a week – do all the planning required, find all the resources needed, keep up with all the paperwork required “accountability”, work with 25-30 children that are on multiple levels, and then tell me you think teachers are paid well. I drive a 14 year old car, have been on one vacation in the last 15 years, owe my soul to College Foundation Inc because I put 3 of my children through college, and have medical bills from my wife’s 6 year battle with cancer. And now I am receiving a pay cut!! I have worked 2 jobs for most of my career just to be able to survive.Do I sound a little bitter about this education bill – well yes I am.

  • sawsimmons

    It’s unfortunate that you have not done your homework regarding teachers before you spouted off your rude comments. Teachers only get paid for the ten months school is in session; however, most of us work more than a 40 hour work week. I put in an average of 55 hours weekly. There are many other misconceptions about teachers. For example, in my school district, we receive very little for supplies and copies for the classroom. Nor does the school provide updated student textbooks or consumables to help teach students. We even have a limited number of copies we can make yearly. Even though students bring in some supplies, teachers at my school end up paying out of pocket for things needed for the classroom (such as staples, tape, paperclips, copies, etc…). Sometimes we even provide snacks or supplies for individual students who cannot afford them. Perhaps you’ve nothing nice to say about teachers because you don’t have school-aged children? Please educate yourself.

  • Concerned teacher

    We work ten months and are paid for ten months. I do not get a paycheck in the two months of “vacation”. However I do attend workshops, which I also don’t get paid for, plan for the coming year, spend my own money on supplies for my classroom and read books about becoming an even better teacher. Oh and work at least one other job to be able to pay my mortgage in the summer (this year I actually have three jobs, one short term and two part time). I have absolutely no interest in becoming an administrator, since that is not teaching, my chosen career. Not every teacher wants to be an administrator and I’m not sure why the public thinks that is such a direct line. The jobs are very different and not all of us are interested in that part of the profession. I think what a lot of people are not understanding here is that teachers are people who work much harder than anyone gives us credit for but are treated horribly by the very people we are working for. We want our state to be educated and have a bright future, well you need teachers to do that. NC may be giving us raises this year, but in exchange, we are being given a dead end pay scale that gives me no hope of ever being able to live life without struggling. I don’t understand why people think we have job security, all tenure in NC gives us is due process, so we can’t be fired for no reason. That’s it. If you think there’s more to it than that, you shouldn’t put your thoughts out there before researching your facts. I am an excellent teacher, never having had anything but glowing recommendations and evaluations. If I worked in any other profession, I would probably make twice what I do now. I’m not asking for or expecting that, I just want at least a cost of living increase each year and a little respect from the ungrateful citizens of this state that I spend so much time and effort to educate.

  • Joe Knows Math

    To get your real salary increase, take the new proposed pay scale percentages and subtract the longevity percent from it.

    10-14 years subtract 1.5%

    15-19 years subtract 2.25%

    20-24 years subtract 3.35%

    25+ years subtract 4.25%

    Teachers at the start of each pay scale band are the getting the larger pay raises.

  • Erica Smith

    Thank you because most people do not understand that simple fact. Most jobs make you take the work keys right now it’s those teachers that you had way back when that gave all workers the educational foundation.

  • jane zack

    It is time to vote Berger, Tillis, and Pat McCory out of office the first chance we get get.

  • Erlkoenig

    Why? The increase in starting pay is great for someone right out of college and for only 9 months of the year. Teachers can always go into administration and make even more money. Especially that assistant to Markley gig.

  • dave

    Maybe the fiscal research division needs to revisit 4th grade. I didn’t check every year, but for the 12 year scale the math doesn’t work.
    $40,000/$38,160 = 4.8% OR $38,160 x 6.19% = $40,522

  • Veritacity

    The NCAE is misrepresenting the facts. The truth is that it is an average 7% pay increase for our hard-working teachers. Jewel is obviously using Common Core math.

  • Taxpayer, too.

    If you would pay attention or do a little research before sharing your opinion, or fact, as you propose it, you would realize that the 7% average does not factor in the longevity pay that most teachers will be losing. Factor that in, and you’re looking at an average well under 7%.

  • LRoyal

    You realize it says “average”—new teachers are getting a 7.4% increase, but veteran teachers are getting a .28% increase. Teachers with 5-6 years experience are getting an 18% increase. Please explain where the fairness is in that??

  • Guest000000

    I’m gonna’ go out on a limb here and say none, at least under Perdue (who also made them take unpaid furlough days). However, they also weren’t threatened with the loss of tenure and longevity pay, and teachers weren’t leaving the state in droves. Our public school funding was also not being diverted to vouchers for private schools.

  • taxpayer

    How many pay raises did teachers receive when Mike Easley and Bev Perdue were in office?

  • SurfCityTom

    did the State Teachers’ Association contribute to Smiley’s campaign?

    Does $2 million sound about right.

    Yet Smiley’s administration could not find the funding for teacher or state employee raises.

    But no one is supposed to remember that.

  • Steve

    I did not get into education to be a wealthy person. My wealth has certainly come from the many children, parents, colleagues I have known over the years. But now after teaching for 28 years the politicians have decided I am not worthy of a raise. Only the young and newer teachers deserve a raise. It is embarassing after teaching all those years to tell someone that I still don’t make $50,000 as a professional who has never had a bad observation or evaluation. I love North Carolina, it is my home, but I despise the politicians who look down on me as being inferior. I feel I have contributed to society by touching so many lives. Easly, Perdue, McCrory, the entire General Assembly dems and reps, I hope you have impacted as many lives positively as I have but I know you haven’t. So I take pity on you for your ignrance and apathy and I will lay my head down on my pillow with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I hope you can say the same but then again I know better. You are a politician.

  • Roland

    I agree, press about a 7% NC teacher raise is not true! The spin is presented as a 7% raise, but being a 21 year veteran for WCPSS I will not see any raise. Last year my longevity pay was 3.3% of my salary, but take that away this coming year, and what do I have? Then when you take the new improved pay scale (lol) into consideration after 21 years I may even see a decrease in my pay. NC will do harm to our scociety by devaluing our the impact of our veteran teachers. I was going to retire last year, but my principal could not find a replacement for my curriculum, CTE Digital Media, so I’m staying one more year, but if this so called raise decreases my salery, I may have to reconsider staying in teaching. This is so wrong, and sad for NC. Thank God I can sleep at night, can’t say the same for these politicians. I know these elected officials cannot say they have touched the lives of our students in a positive way, they will have truly harmed them. They will not be judged by their deeds on this earth. We will see the dropout rate raise, for our students will be turned off and not turned on to education. Just remember at one point newly hired teachers will become veteran teachers, but not in NC!

  • Breaderson

    Would you want to stay in NC as a young teacher if after finally getting a small bump in pay after all these years if you knew what the future held in pay? A beginning teacher in Houston makes more than a 20 year veteran in NC. Unintended consequences get misinformed short term headlines, but an accelerated exodus of quality teachers t the same time.

  • Andy Dudley

    As I read over the comments made by some of the people on this site, I now understand how we have gotten into the political climate we have in NC at this time. The public is just not informed enough to make reasonable arguments – pro or con on a topic. The comment that teachers only work 9 or 10 months, the comments that they are well paid, have summers off and holidays, etc, etc. So I will use myself as an example, and you can draw your own conclusion about teacher pay and the new education bill. I am a 40 year veteran, and my bring home “net” pay is under $2800 a month. Yes I get paid for 12 months and only work 10, but I get that 2 extra months by taking less for the 10 months I work – I get my pay STRETCHHHHHHHHHED out. On any given week during the school year I spend at least 60 hours a week at school, and 20 hours on school related matters at home – ie a 80 hour work-week, and thats a conservative estimate. If you can do the math that your teacher taught you, that averages to about $10.00 per hour. Even on “gross” income, it comes to about $15.00 per hour. Holidays that we get are taken out of days that we build up over the course of our careers.Many things we use in the classroom we pay for out of our own pockets. Teachers spend many hours “off the clock”, parent conferences before and after school, on weekends, etc;
    many hours attending school functions after school hours and on weekends- non-compensated; attending meetings and professional development before and after school hours – non-compensated; and I could go on and on. I drive a 14 year old vehicle, I have had 1 vacation in the last 10 years, I owe my soul to College Foundation Inc because I educated 3 children, I still owe medical bills from my wife’s 7 year battle with cancer, and I shop at grocery stores when I know the meats will have a red tag on them. I love my job, I love what I do, I am happy to know that many children I have taught have become doctors, lawyers, business owners, etc. As of now, I would not recommend anyone to go into education in the state of NC, and would encourage any person that is in education here to look elsewhere, where they are appreciated. To top it off I see that people who work for these politicians that came up with this disgraceful and discriminatory bill, start out at $60,000 a year, and after a probationary period of 6 months get a raise of $25,000.00 a year. LOL. Well if my career path followed that rate then I should be making about $4,000,000.00 a year. I think I am a little removed from that salary. The sad fact is I will probably actually receive a pay cut this year.So for those people who feel that teachers have it made, take a week, go to a school and “sub” for a week- do all the planning, the paperwork, the parent conferences, all the duties a teacher is required to do, walk a “mile” in a teacher’s shoes, and then say what you say. By the way, make sure you pick a school that has students with needs- not a school that most of the politicians send their children to, or a school you probably send your children to.


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