NC Teacher Salaries Tick Up To 41 In National Rankings

May 13, 2016

Newly hired teachers and staff attend an orientation for Wake County Public Schools. Wake County has one of the highest local supplements, so its teachers make more than most teachers in North Carolina.
Credit Jess Clark / WUNC

The state's average teacher pay inched up to 41 in national rankings, according to a yearly report from the National Association of Educators. Last year North Carolina ranked 42nd.

The state's salary didn't increase significantly from the year prior, but it pulled ahead of Louisiana, which saw a sharp decline in teacher pay.

The report estimates North Carolina's average teacher salary is $47,985 for the 2015-2016 school year, up about $170 from the year prior. That's a tick below salaries in neighboring Tennessee and South Carolina, but still significantly lower than salaries in Virginia and Georgia, where teachers make more than $50,000 a year, on average.  The national average teacher salary is $58,064.

The salary figures include the base pay that comes from the state, as well as the local salary supplements, which vary widely by district. Some districts in North Carolina offer no local supplement above the base pay; others have an average supplement of about $6,000.

The report also shows North Carolina still has the lowest per-student spending in the Southeast.

North Carolina Association of Educators President Rodney Ellis called the state's per-student spending "unacceptable" in a press release Friday.

“We have dangerously high teacher turnover rates and dangerously low enrollment in teacher training programs," Ellis wrote.

"Instead of using a surplus budget for more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, we should be investing in our public school students, educators, and schools," he said.

Governor Pat McCrory and lawmakers in both chambers say they want to increase teacher pay during the short session. House lawmakers plan to start talks on teacher compensation Tuesday.