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McCrory Pledges $4,200 Raises Over Two Years For Beginning Teachers

Courtney Mason in her classroom at Piney Grove Elementary.
Lisa Worf
Courtney Mason in her classroom at Piney Grove Elementary.

Beginning teachers in North Carolina could receive a $4,200 pay raise over the next two years under the plan announced Monday by Governor Pat McCrory. Senate and House leaders say they’re behind it. 

Teachers in their first five years receive a base pay of $30,800 dollars, not including local salary supplements. McCrory said that’s too low.    

“That’s not even enough to raise a family or pay off student loans,” said McCrory at a press conference in Guilford County, recorded by WRAL-TV.   

His plan is to raise the base pay for these teachers to $33,000 this year and to $35,000 the following year.  That way North Carolina will pay first-year teachers more than most neighboring states.

“Our intention is to build a strong foundation for the future. The cornerstone of this foundation must start from the bottom up. And this will strengthen North Carolina’s structure for recruiting and retaining the best teachers,” said McCrory. 

He was flanked by Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Teacher pay has pretty much stagnated for the past five years and North Carolina’s average teacher pay is among the lowest in the nation. McCrory said Medicaid cost overruns prevented state lawmakers from doing this last year. 

About 34,000 teachers would receive the pay raise this year. Rodney Ellis, President of the North Carolina Association of Educators, says that leaves out a lot of veteran teachers. 

“You think about the number of teachers who you’re basically saying, ‘We’ll get back to you on that raise thing.  It’s 70% of teachers in the state who will receive nothing,” says Ellis.   

As the revenue picture becomes clearer, McCrory said he and lawmakers plan to roll out additional proposals to cover more teachers in the next few months.

The plan also includes extending supplemental pay to teachers  who have completed classes in a graduate program before  July 2013.  Last year, lawmakers did away with extra pay for teachers who didn't already have a master's degree.

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.