NORTH CAROLINA - Gov. Pat McCrory and top lawmakers have officially announced their plan to increase starting teacher salaries in North Carolina.
According to a release from the Governor's Office, the plan will boost the average starting teacher pay from $30,800 to $35,000 over the next two years.
The new plan was unveiled to teachers and students at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, where McCrory graduated from. The proposal will increase starting teacher pay by $2,200 this year and by an additional $2,000 the following year, the release stated. That's a more than 13 percent raise over the next two years.
Funding for the proposed raises will come from additional and available revenues, and will not require a tax increase, according to the release.
McCrory announced the plan Monday with Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.
"There's no greater investment we can make than in preparing our kids for the future, and there's no question that high-quality teachers lead to better student achievement," said McCrory, Forest, Berger and Tillis in a joint statement. "Making North Carolina a regional leader and nationally competitive will help us attract the very best talent to our schools and brand our state as a teaching destination, not a layover."
Katie Williams has taught 3rd grade for four years at Farmlife Elementary School in Vanceboro.
"A lot of our money goes back into the classroom, buying classroom supplies that parents can't afford or things we need to teach a lesson effectively. You teach because you love it, you don't teach for the pay," she said.
Williams said it's her passion in life but sometimes giving back to the students can take everything out of her.
"As a beginning teacher the pay that we receive is hard to live on. As myself we live month to month and paycheck to paycheck," she explained.
Williams said in a state where starting teachers make an average of just over $30,000 a year, it's the change she was hoping for.
"I'm excited the government has finally listened to the concerns of educators across the state," Williams said.
Williams said this is a step in the right direction. She said she just hopes the plan for raises will soon extend to all teachers.
The plan will make starting teacher salaries among the highest in the Southeast.
According to the Governor's Office, state leaders are expected to announce pay increases for more teachers and state employees as the revenue outlook becomes clearer.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders will propose Monday to raise base salaries for the least experienced teachers so that they're more competitive with Southern neighbors and the nation.
Plan details are in a document obtained by The Associated Press in advance of an announcement at the Guilford County high school that McCrory attended. House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate leader Phil Berger and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest also will help unveil the proposal.
The document says the legislature will consider a bill to ensure all public school teachers make at least $33,000 during the 2014-15 school year and at least $35,000 the following year.
The price tag will be around $200 million.
Teachers have had only one raise since 2008, leading to low morale.