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Just to clarify something for you-- NC teachers’ salaries have been frozen for the past five years, this means that the ladder scale that we are paid on was frozen and we have not moved up a ladder step. So I, as a 9th year teacher, am being paid at a 4th year scale. Furthermore, when our salary was frozen, we were also notified that we were losing workdays and that the state was taking 1% of our salary in furlough time that we can never actually take because it cannot be used during instructional time or on required work days, only on undesignated work days which were also cut out of the calendar. Last year, the state voted for five more school days, without adjusting pay and required furlough days again and increased our insurance cost. New Hanover County has decreased our supplement and cut all bonuses even though we have continued to improve in scores and grow in numbers. As you can see, while the cost of living has continued to grow, our pay has shrunk. The state did give us a 1.2% raise this year, which increase my monthly pay by $5.38, after taxes which is over $1100 less than what I should be making based on the ladder scale. I guess I should be grateful.
Most of our high schools have between 1600 and 1800 students and currently two of them are functioning without a full administrative staff (which has been approximately 450 students to one administrator in this county), class sizes are well above 35 and TA's are all but gone. No one goes into teaching for the money, and the attitude that we are just whining because obviously we get summers off and the day ends at 3:30 is insulting. I work between 70- 80 a week on average, am at school at least one day a week during the summer for which I am not getting paid and I still work two other jobs because I have a mortgage to pay. The reality is that North Carolina and particularly New Hanover County (which by the way has the lowest supplement for its tax income in the state) have pushed teachers to the point of poverty. We are all college educated, many with Masters and PhD's and we make significantly less than the people who fix your cars or plumbing. I know five teachers at my school who have lost their homes over the past year and who can no longer afford the health coverage offered by the state. The simple truth is that no board of ed would try this is a union state, which is why all of the non union states are among the lowest performing. To the person who said that teachers should just stop complaining or lose their jobs, one: do you really want your child educated by the lowest bidder or the person who is most qualified? Two: I did know what the pay was, however, I did not know that the state could cut it at any moment and take money out of a check I have already earned (which is exactly what they did with the furlough time via email). I love to teach, and I am very good at it, but you may just get you wish because it is getting to the point that I will no longer be able to feed my family off of my salary. This pay raise for the board may seem minuscule (which I believe is the adjective that Hickey used to describe it when he “symbolically” turned it down) but it is a slap in the face to every employee in this county who has had to struggle to make ends meet both at home and in the classroom. That includes the teachers, assistants, custodial staff, admin staff, child nutrition, transportation and everyone else who keeps the school system running. This is an insult and we have heard it loud and clear.


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