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The North Carolina Teacher Project is a year-long look at the teaching profession, told through in-depth feature stories, comprehensive policy discussions on The State of Things, intimate conversations between students and teachers, and multimedia presentations. More background on this series is available here. Check out our The Teachers' Room Blog on Tumblr.These reports are part of American Graduate - Let’s Make it Happen! - a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

McCrory Outlines Plan To Improve Teacher Pay, Give Raises

Pat McCrory
Reema Khrais

Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that he intends to give all teachers a two percent raise this year. He also set out a long-term plan to overhaul the way North Carolina's teachers are paid. 

His proposal would reward teachers based on their experience, performance and credentials. Teachers in hard-to-staff schools or subjects would also receive extra pay. Governor McCrory gave details about the plan at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro earlier today. 

"This plan encourages and rewards teachers who make the most out of their career and ensures that every student has the chance to fulfill their potential," McCrory said. "In terms of the plan’s specifics, we’re going to let more decision making happen at the local level, not inside the beltline in Raleigh."

The plan, called the Career Pathways for Teachers, would be piloted by 16 school districts over the next two years. McCrory says he intends that all North Carolina school districts will have the system in place by 2017-18.

He plans to set aside $9 million in his budget proposals in each of the next two years to pay for the pilots projects. While he couldn’t estimate the total cost of the system, he said his administration will prioritize funding for the program.

Raises alone would cost $265 million, including McCrory’s proposed $1000 boost for all state employees. State budget analysts recently predicted a $445 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which some say could threaten teacher raises. 

Mark Jewell, vice-president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, says the average pay raise of 2-3 percent is “inadequate, given that teachers’ pay has been frozen for five of the last six years.”

He says his organization suggests delaying this year’s scheduled $300 million tax cut for “the very wealthy and profitable corporations.”

Democratic Leader Larry D. Hall also responded to the plan, saying that Governor McCrory’s plan makes for “good political talking points, but it simply does not begin addressing the teacher pay crisis in North Carolina.”

North Carolina ranks 46th in average pay and 48th in base salary pay. Teachers also haven’t seen a significant pay raise since 2008.

The new pay scale proposal will still need approval from the General Assembly. Legislators meet for the short session this month. 

The Details

- Salary raises from 2.8 to 4.3 percent starting July 1 for teachers with eight to 12 years of service, with an average 2 percent raise for teachers with at least 13 years of service.  

 - Provide 10 percent salary supplements for teachers who earn advanced degrees in the subjects they are teaching. The legislature voted last summer to phase out the supplement for teachers getting master's degrees.

 - $3.6 million more for early childhood education.

 - Double the amount of state funding for textbooks, to $46 million.

 - The creation of a scholarship fund so newly discharged veterans who served some of their time at a North Carolina installation can pay in-state tuition rates to UNC-system schools.

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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