Raleigh Has Little Help Planned for Hard-working Educators
Teacher salaries in North Carolina are not high enough to compete against the offers of other states. In fact, over the past 10 years the average teacher salary in NC has seen the biggest decline in the nation. When they return in April, politicians will have tough decisions to make.
In McDowell County, "We have a math position ... that we've had zero applicants for," Superintendent Mark Garrett told the House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices on Thursday. Several of his colleagues said they are also having unusual problems filling teaching vacancies.
The question of how much to pay teachers is one of the biggest budget decisions that will face legislators when they return to Raleigh on April 25.
The legislature has increased teacher pay the past couple years, with most of the increases going to teachers at or near the bottom end of the pay scale. A beginning teacher now makes $35,000 a year, one with 10 to 14 years experience $40,000 and those on the job 25 years or more $50,000. In addition, all teachers got a $750 bonus this year and some make more because they have a master's degree, but extra pay for a master's is being slowly phased out.
But several years during and after the recession that began in 2008 with few or no raises for teachers have seen North Carolina's pay fall significantly behind other states. The average teacher salary in the state ranked it 24th in the nation in 2006-07, the National Education Association says, but the figure dropped to 47th in 2013-14.
When the effects of inflation are considered, the average teacher salary in the state fell 17.4 percent over the 10 years ended 2013-14, the NEA said, the biggest decline in the nation.