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Gov. Cooper Proposes Average Raises Of At Least 18% For Teachers, Principals

Source: CBS 17

Teachers in North Carolina continue to be some of the worst-compensated in the country and Gov. Roy Cooper is trying to fix that by calling for double-digit raises for teachers, according to CBS 17.

The national average for teacher wages is $66,432 a year compared to the average North Carolina teacher salary of $57,805, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). According to the latest numbers from NCDPI, the basic starting salary for a teacher in North Carolina is only $37,000. A teacher with a master’s degree, National Board for Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS) Certification and 25+ years of teaching experience gets paid $65,880 in North Carolina – still below the national average. A North Carolina teacher without a master’s degree or NBPTS Certification, but 25-plus years of experience can only make a maximum of $54,000 yearly.

Teachers have been leaving the profession in North Carolina due to the comparatively low pay.

“I think a lot of folks stay like me because we’re really passionate but there comes a point where we can’t be financial martyrs either. I think that’s why you’ve seen a lot of passionate people leave because they don’t see things changing anytime soon,” Kim Mackey, a 16-year veteran of the Wake County Public School System, told CBS 17.

According to N.C. Policy Watch, compared to other states, North Carolina teacher salaries are “much lower when salaries are compared to what individuals with comparable education and experience can earn in each state’s private sector.”

Mackey also highlighted that fact when speaking to CBS 17.

“When the private industry is willing to pay significantly more and our General Assembly hasn’t shown an interest in competing with them – they’re doing what they need to do for their livelihoods,” she said.

In his State of the State address, Cooper said he planned to propose a salary increase of at least 10% for teachers in his next budget. In the budget proposal he released, he called for an average raise of 18% over the next two years.

“It gives teachers and principals double-digit raises. It keeps the buses running. It helps kids with special needs. It keeps schools safe,” Cooper said about his proposed increase.

It will be up to the Republican-controlled General Assembly to pass Cooper’s budget that includes the pay raises for teachers. Unfortunately, education and teacher pay are two things North Carolina Republicans have shown they don’t care too much about.

Historically, state Republicans have failed to adequately fund public schools, choosing to pass lackluster teacher pay measures and a state budget that only partially funds the court-approved Leandro Plan, which would solve many of the most pressing issues facing our public schools.

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