Educators worry new teacher pay law could be divisive


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Tonight school board members in Brunswick County will meet to talk about the states new 25 percent law for teacher pay.

Districts must recommend a quarter of their teachers to receive a multi-year contract and raise. But that’s not all.

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“It is very difficult for principals right now to even accept the fact that we are going to have to be a part of that choice in choosing the teachers for that 25 percent,” Bolivia Elementary School principal Kathleen Owens said.

The General Assembly adopted the plan last year. By June 30 school districts across the state must identify the top 25 percent of teachers. It’s a decision that will ultimately affect all teachers.

“If we have to chose a top percentage of teachers for extra pay, that is going to be difficult for us to continue collaboration for the teachers to teach the students,” Owens said.

Teachers identified as the top 25 percent will be eligible for a four-year contract and a $500 annual raise each of the four years. The catch is they must voluntarily give up their tenure.

The other 75 percent of teachers will only be able to get an annual contract extension.

Brunswick County Schools’ Human Resources Executive Director Mark Pasier says this is going to be a problem that will impact educators for years to come.

“Teachers don’t like it. Principals don’t like it. As a school system representative, we really don’t like it, because it divides our employee group,” Pasier said.

Educators say they are worried about the message this will send not only to teachers but the community.

“Tthe teachers here are very close, and so when you start pulling that apart, it’s difficult for them to then teach that collaboration to the students,” Owens said.

A collaboration some say is the backbone of our education system.

The North Carolina Association of Educators has encouraged teachers to pass on the multi-year contract and keep tenure. We tried to reach the president of the group’s brunswick county chapter, but have not heard back.