|GOP plan to boost N.C. teacher pay|
|Extra $4,00 for beginners over two years|
|Published Monday, February 10, 2014 12:07 pm|
North Carolina's Republican leadership have a plan to give starting teachers a bump in pay.
Gov. Pat McCrory, joined at Ragsdale High School by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, on Monday announced a strategy to make starting teacher salaries more competitive with other southeastern states. Under the plan, new teachers will get a 13 percent raise over the next two years, with starting salaries jumping from $30,800 to $35,000. About 32,000 of the state’s 95,000 teachers will get raises.
Local school districts can also supplement salaries.
“There’s no greater investment we can make than in preparing our kids for the future, and there’s no question that high-quality teachers lead to better student achievement,” McCrory, Forest, Berger and Tillis said in a joint statement. That’s why we are committed to boosting starting teacher pay to $35,000 over the next two years.
“Making North Carolina a regional leader and nationally competitive will help us attract the very best talent to our schools and brand our state as a teaching destination, not a layover.”
The new plan, unveiled to teachers and students at Ragsdale – McCrory’s alma mater – would increase starting teacher pay by $2,200 this year and by an additional $2,000 the following year. Funding would come from available revenues and will not require a tax increase. North Carolina’s starting teacher pay of $30,800 has been among the lowest in the nation in recent years, which McCrory blamed on Democratic lawmakers. The average starting salary in the U.S. for the 2012-13 academic year was $36,141, according to the National Education Association.
“I am pleased to see our state’s leaders come together, focus on finding solutions and commit to reversing the long-time trend of noncompetitive salaries in the teaching profession,” Liz Jones, an eighth grade science teacher and department chair at Roland Grise Middle School in New Hanover County said in a statement from Berger’s office. “This step will greatly improve our ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest to educate our students.”
Republican-led cuts to education over the last three years have become a hot-button issue as the state slashed spending for classroom assistants and textbooks while boosting classroom size. Also, the state approved $4,000 in taxpayer-funded vouchers for low-income students to attend private schools as well as eliminating the cap on publicly funded charter schools, which have been criticized by traditional public school advocates as weakening those institutions.
“After an onslaught of education policies that were passed last summer with no warning and no debate, we are now presented with another policy that responds to the legitimate concerns of parents, students, and teachers with a divisive half-measure: a fraction of teachers will see an increase in pay next year, yet our students and our schools will continue to be underfunded,” said Durham High School teacher Bryan Proffitt, a member of the N.C. Association of Educators Organize 2020 Caucus. The group announced plans for a statewide gathering of teachers and school advocates on March 8 in Greensboro.
The Republican lawmakers also introduced a plan to extend supplemental pay for teachers with master’s degrees to those who have completed coursework in a graduate program as of July 1, 2013. McCrory also pledged to announce pay increases for more teachers and state employees as North Carolina’s revenue outlook “becomes clearer and available.”
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