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What NC Lawmakers Are Considering For Teacher Raises

Lawmakers voted this summer to eventually eliminate teacher tenure, replacing it with temporary contracts. The State Board of Education will discuss a model contract this week.

Teacher pay is one of the biggest political items in the state's spending plan North Carolina lawmakers are currently debating.

House and Senate Republicans have different ideas over raising teacher salaries, though both want to give an average 4 percent boost.

Under the Senate’s plan, most of that extra money would go toward teachers with less than 15 years of experience. Those with 25+ years of experience would not see any increases to their current base salary from the state.  

However, House lawmakers want to distribute the raises more evenly across experience levels. Republican leaders want to raise each pay band by 2 percent. This would lift the current $50,000 cap for experienced teachers to $51,000.

The two proposals would also move every teacher a step up in the pay plan.

Under both proposals, teachers going into their fifth year of teaching would receive the biggest boost. With the Senate plan, they’d go from $35,000 to $38,250; under the House, they’d receive $37,230.

“We think we’ll make the teaching profession attractive again,” said lead budget writer Harry Brown (R-Onslow).  

Before last year, teacher salaries had been essentially frozen since 2008. With North Carolina ranking among the worst in the nation in teacher pay, lawmakers vowed to raise the starting salary to $35,000. The governor, as well as both chambers, included that promise in their budget plans for 2015-17.

Last year, they gave an average 7 percent increase to teachers that resulted in bigger pay bumps for teachers early in their careers. They also boosted the starting salary from $30,800 to $33,000.

Below is a closer look at the current House and Senate proposals. The Senate is expected to vote on its proposal this week; the House approved its plan last month. Leaders from both chambers will have to strike a deal as they craft a state budget this summer.

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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