Experienced Teachers Under Fire From The General Assembly

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WUNC reports on veteran teachers in North Carolina who feel disrespected by the General Assembly's actions. For many of our most experienced teachers, their raise this year is less than 2% and for Chuck Hennessee, a teacher at Culbreth Middle School with 29 years of experience, the raise is just 0.3%. From their article,

“I am a better teacher in my 29th year now than I was in my 25th and much better than I was in my 20th, my tenth, and it doesn’t even compare to my fifth and first year,” says Hennessee.

For many of those years as a teacher in Wake, Durham, and now Chapel Hill, Hennessee has supplemented his income by working as a bus driver, a furniture salesman, even as a bartender. Now, as he closes in on 30 years as a teacher, he has a base salary of $50,000, not counting the local supplement, the stipend he gets for coaching volleyball, and master’s pay.

This year, he got a 0.3 percent raise from the state, the lowest possible on the new teacher salary schedule.

“It is not even with the cost of living,” says Hennessee. “It’s not where my pay grade should be. And it’s a real insult to me as a professional.”

One of the reasons for the smaller raises for experienced teachers is longevity pay. It’s a bonus for most state employees that kicks in after ten years on the job, and goes up every five years.

The emphasis on newer teachers is starting to show up in schools. In 2013, 27 percent of teachers had five years or less experience. On the other end of the scale, just 15 percent of teachers had more than 25 years on the job.

If that balance tips too much it can create a problem within a school.

“You have to have some people who have institutional knowledge,” says Michael Maher, the Assistant Dean for Professional Education and Accreditation in the School of Education at NC State. “You have to have people who have been through curricular changes to help these young folks weather those storms, and veterans have a sense of the community. And communities matter. The community of the school, leadership matters. I really can’t overstate how importance of the community in a school.”


  1. Katrina's avatar
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    "One of the reasons for the smaller raises for experienced teachers is longevity pay. It’s a bonus for most state employees that kicks in after ten years on the job, and goes up every five years." <br /> <br /> Wake up... they took away longevity! SO veteran teachers are making even LESS!
  2. Vince's avatar
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    Please stop, you are embarrassing us. We are still getting the longevity money, we are just not getting it in a lump sum once a year. They did NOT take it away.
  3. ladyhoop's avatar
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    If longevity is incorporated in pay scale then why not make it a separate line item on my paystub so I see it and ultimately believe it.
  4. Brenda Feathers's avatar
    Brenda Feathers
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    Vince get with the program...we did lose longevity. This was a bonus based on years of service. This means it was extra. Now, all teachers get it wrapped into their pay; therfore, years of loyalty to the state is not rewarded! It was lost when it went to all!
  5. Rachel's avatar
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    I am an oddity. I am on year 39 on the pay scale but actually just finished my 25th year. I was given credit for 14 years of outside experience. This school year 14-15, I should have moved from 3.25% to 4.5% longevity. Since I have a master's and national board, that would have been an increase of $819 that I will not get. I did get the extra $1,000, therefore my raise for the year is $181. I am not even going to try to calculate the raise percentage. I don't think my little hand held calculator can figure that may decimal points.
  6. Abby Bevan's avatar
    Abby Bevan
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    Wake up Vince.....longevity is OVER. "Folded in" with our .3% means we'll never see it again in any form. It's part of whatever raise you earn from now on. They even admit that without the longevity money they couldn't afford the 7% they brag about. I worry about the young people who work with me. $50,000 is ALL THEY CAN EVER MAKE. They won't stay either. It's all very sad.
  7. Robin Harden's avatar
    Robin Harden
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    I am a veteran with 24 years of experience. They have hurt the teachers who have given the most and they don't care .
  8. Marylu's avatar
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    Summarizing (and sharing my own two cents worth) what NCAE Mark Jewell was saying "if a person from say Kansas {tho' why would they now} with 10 years experience comes to NC, with this new pay scale both the new teacher and the NC teacher would make the same"...{no reward for giving years of NC service. There is the feeling that the legislature wants rid of veteran teachers.
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