North Carolina Proposal: Smaller Raises, But Teachers Keep Tenure

The North Carolina House of Representatives unveiled its version of a Senate plan to increase teacher pay which will mean smaller raises, but also allow educators to keep their tenure, according to an article written by Gary D. Robertson of The Associated Press.

The House budget, currently sitting at $21.1 billion, will rely heavily on additional revenue coming in from the North Carolina Lottery, which it hopes to spur by spending more money on advertising.

"Unlike other budgets, this budget has no strings attached to it," Rep. Bryan Holloway, R-Stokes, co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said at a news conference unveiling the chamber's plan. "You do not have to give up tenure or give up anything to get your pay raise. It's just automatic."

It's a very different plan than that which the state Senate introduced in late May, as reported by EducationNews.

Under the Senate's plans, teachers in North Carolina, which ranks just 47th among states in teacher salary statistics, would get an average pay increase of 11%, but would give up rights to tenure in exchange.

The caveat of that potential pay raise is that teachers must give up their tenure to get it – meaning they will no longer have job security past what is already guaranteed by standard federal and state law.

Under the bill's terminology, teachers who reject the new pay structure would continue on the current plan, which stagnates at a certain point in an educator's career, but would keep the tenure, meaning they could not be fired for anything outside the realm of "just cause".

Both bills would raise the salary for starting teachers by about $5,000 to $33,000. According to an article in the Mooresville Tribune, teachers holding master's degrees would also get protected pay raises, although future raises would go only to teachers with master's in their teaching subject.

In addition to the deletion of teacher tenure, the Senate bill would cut the funding for teaching assistants by nearly 50%. With salaries already near the bottom of the country, North Carolina found itself the site of at least one out-of-state school district attempting to poach some of its unsatisfied educators.

A week ago, the Houston Independent School District hosted a job fair in Charlotte, promoting its high starting salaries and better benefits to teachers fed up with their lot in North Carolina. As reported by EducationNews, 12 teachers accepted contracts during the job fair.

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier formerly was superintendent in Guilford County in North Carolina, thus it is no surprise that he would have a knowledge of the state's struggles to pay its teachers

The advertisements that HISD ran online and in newspapers touted a starting salary of $46,805, which a North Carolina teacher, under the state's current pay scale, would need 28 years experience to top.

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