This year’s budget, which was approved last night in the Senate and is being debated right now in the House, provides substantial raises for every one of North Carolina’s more than 100,000 public school teachers.
The state sets the base pay for our teachers, and this has an included extra amount paid out each year (after 10 years of teaching) called “longevity pay.” The new raises included in the budget is on top of that extra amount, and under the proposed budget plan, the process is reformed and simplified by folding the extra longevity pay back into the new base pay. By rolling longevity pay into base pay, it gives the public a more honest accounting of what our teachers receive from the state.
The chart below shows the raises from the state that each teacher will receive next year (in green) over what they currently receive (in blue), based on how many years they have taught school. The new average base salary (including longevity pay and the new pay raises) is $49,117 — now the fourth highest in the southeast. (When you divide $49,117 by the total number of weeks spent working (44), you get an average new weekly wage of $1,116. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly wage across North Carolina was just $673 in 2012. In most counties, it is significantly lower.)
As you can see in the chart, the emphasis was on fulfilling the promise of increasing starting teacher pay. For example, a first-year teacher making $30,800 this year will receive a $2,200 raise next year, an increase of 7.14%. A teacher who has taught for five years will receive a $5,700 raise next year, an increase of 18.51%. Teachers at the top of the existing pay scale (30+ years of teaching) each get a $1,000 bonus. Under the new budget, teachers eligible for Master’s pay should add 10% more to their new base pay and those certified by the NBPTS should add 12% more to their new base pay.
The amounts in the graph do not include additional local supplement pay amounts, which vary from school district to school district. Local governments in Chapel Hill/Carborro, Wake County, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, for example, pay their teachers more than $6,000 above what you see here coming from state funds. 80% of local governments in North Carolina give teachers additional pay of at least $1,000 on top of these amounts; the average throughout the state is an additional $2,179 per year per teacher from local governments. County commissions and city councils are always free to increase this pay to teachers from year to year.
The figures below also do not include the additional amount that state taxpayers cover each year for a teacher’s employee health insurance benefits (an average of $4,931 per year), state pension benefits (an average of $5,383 per year), and an average of $3,139 in Social Security contributions (amounts are from 2012, the most recent available).
Click here to open a printable PDF of this chart.