Former North Carolina Teachers Start The School Year In Texas
Remember those job fairs Houston Independent School District had in North Carolina to lure our best and brightest teachers to Texas with big raises? Well on Monday school started in Houston for 39 teachers that left North Carolina last year. In fact no other state in the country contributed more new teachers to the Houston School District. The ABC affiliate in Houston has the story:
Emanuel says it was a $13,000 difference for her to move here from Greensboro, North Carolina.
Another teacher, Ricky Ferguson, says he nearly doubled his salary. He too moved from the Tarheel State. He and Emanuel are two of 39 teachers HISD recruited from North Carolina during four separate recruitment fairs in the across that state this summer.
"I enjoy my job," says Ferguson, who starts as a science teacher Monday at Cesar Chavez High School. "I enjoy what I do. I'm trying to better myself and my family and Texas is where it's at."
New teachers from North Carolina represent roughly 10 percent of all new out of state teacher hires this school year.
Why is HISD targeting North Carolina teachers? The answer might lie within the walls of the State Capitol Building.
After years with no raises, earlier this month North Carolina legislators approved an increase in salary for teachers effective this year. But critics of the budget plan say it's not enough.
"I would say we are in crisis mode right now," Mark Jewell tells Eyewitness News.
Jewell is with the North Carolina Association of Educators. He says HISD Superintendent Terry Grier, who used to work with Jewell in North Carolina, knows teachers are ripe for the picking because of low pay and lack of funding.
"He is doing probably what any employer would want to do, is go and look where there is discontent and offer them something better," Jewell said.
Starting pay at HISD is roughly $49,000 a year. In North Carolina it averages $33,000. It takes a teacher there twenty five years of service to reach $49,000.
We spoke with teachers who told us they can't pay all of their bills, they feel underappreciated and demoralized. They understand why so many would be interested in leaving the state for what's perceived to be greener grass elsewhere.