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WUNC's education coverage is led by reporters Dave Dewitt and Reema Khrais. Dewitt has been with the station since 2003. Khrais is focused on Education Policy Reporting. Browse recent stories here.

Wake Teachers Could See Pay Increases

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A tentative pay schedule from the Wake County school board bumps up Wake’s local contribution to teacher’s salaries. Teachers would see increases from $875 to $3,202, depending on experience and specialty.

The plan also gives a 3-percent raise to non-faculty employees, such as bus drivers and maintenance workers and increases additional pay for teachers with extra duties, such as coaching and advising.

Wake County teachers already have some of the highest local supplements in the state, but Wake school board chair Christine Kushner said the planned increases are a way to draw more teachers to a quickly growing district.

"We need to be nationally competitive, and make sure that we have salaries that are attractive to the best and brightest teachers," she said.

The salary schedule gives extra increases to special education teachers. Kushner said the district is having a hard time finding and keeping teachers with that specialty.

Wake County commissioners allocated the funding needed for the pay raises in June. To foot the bill, the county increased the education budget by $44.6 million—a county record for the largest year-to-year increase in education funding.

Commissioner Jessica Holmes said record tax revenues and a recent tax hike made that increase possible. Wake added a 3.65 percent property tax in June to support the public school system.

"Our constituents wanted us to prioritize education. That's what we ran on, that's what we promised, and that's what we acted on," Holmes said.

Holmes said commissioners meant for the increased funding to go to teacher pay raises when it passed its budget in June, but that the school board was waiting to find out if the General Assembly would fund teacher assistants and drivers education before it made a decision about how to use the money. State legislators passed their budget Sept. 18, funding both teacher assistants and drivers education.

"If it had come down to it, we would have chosen to keep those teacher assistants employed versus letting them go and giving particular employees raises," Holmes said.

The school board is set to vote on approval of the increases on Oct. 20. If approved, the increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2015.

Jess is WUNC's Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting. Her reporting focuses on how decisions made at the North Carolina General Assembly affect the state's students, families, teachers and communities.
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