by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
From the office of Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, House speaker pro tem:
North Carolina House Approves Budget
Every Teacher Can Expect A Raise
Raleigh, NC – The House of Representatives approved the $21 billion conference budget on Saturday and every teacher can expect a raise. Providing teachers a much needed increase in pay was a promise we made coming into the session. I am glad we were able to deliver on that promise in a significant way. The budget provides an average teacher pay increase of 7%. Teachers will get three benefits that they have not had for seven years (except for one small pay increase): pay schedule is going up overall, teachers can now move up a step, and longevity pay is going to be included in each paycheck instead of one payment at the end of the year.
Wake County has one of the highest local supplements in the state which is based upon a percentage of a teacher’s pay. A beginning teacher in Wake County will see his or her pay increase from $35,189 to $37,703. Experienced teachers with a Master’s degree and National Board certification will see their pay increase from $79,540 to $81,011. Teachers receive a rich retirement and benefits package which includes eligibility for fully-paid lifetime supplemental healthcare benefits. North Carolina is one of a few states to offer this benefit.
The budget consolidates the 36-step pay system into a 6-step plan. The budget provides supplemental pay for teachers who complete a Master’s degree provided they completed at least one course by August 1, 2013. The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee will make recommendations in advance of the 2015 session regarding future salary supplements for teachers who complete a Master’s degree. The budget includes $1M to support the initial phase of differentiated pay approaches for classroom teachers based on a teacher’s demonstrated effectiveness, teaching in hard-to-staff areas, and additional responsibilities in advanced roles.
Since the budget was approved, some groups have been critical of the final teacher pay plan. Representative Stam said, “I am disappointed that groups, like the North Carolina Association of Educators, have chosen to share wrong information. I believe teachers will like taking home more money this year than they took home last year. The proof is in the paycheck.”
You’ll also find interesting these PDF files from Stam showing the actual teacher salary schedule, along with the impact of local Wake County salary supplements on teacher pay in the state’s largest school system.
The salary schedule shows large percentage increases for the entry-level and early-career teachers, whose pay has been uncompetitive with surrounding states. Meanwhile, everyone else sees raises of at least 3 percent, with the exception of those in their 14th year (slightly less than 2 percent to boost them to $40,000 a year), 24th year (more than 2.4 percent to take them to $46,500), and those with 29 years or more who’ve reached salaries of $50,000 a year.
That, of course, is just the state portion of the teachers’ salary. As the second PDF shows, beginning Wake County teachers will get a minimum of $37,703 in pay and $51,700 in total compensation, while the most experienced Wake County teacher with certain paper credentials can draw salaries as high as $81,000, with total compensation approaching $105,000.
The median household income in North Carolina is $46,450. For Wake County, that number is $65,826.