Senate GOP proposes largest teacher pay raise in NC history

Senate GOP proposes largest teacher pay raise in NC history

RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - Senate Republicans unveiled a plan Wednesday that would provide North Carolina public school teachers with their largest pay raise in state history.

The plan would provide teachers in the state a 11.2 percent permanent pay raise on average beginning July 1, according to a news release from Senate Republicans.

The $468 million increase would be the largest in state history and would boost North Carolina from 47th in overall teacher pay to the middle of current national rankings, the news release stated. The increase would also increase the state from ninth to third in teacher pay in the Southeast, ahead of Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Senate Republicans said the plan would replace the archaic 37-step system with an entirely new base pay scale designed to attract and keep the best teachers in the classroom. The plan would provide more than a $5,800 average salary increase per teacher in its first year, the news release stated.

The Senate proposal would repeal the automatic loss of tenure in 2018, according to the news release. Instead, the plan would offer teachers a choice of whether to maintain that status.

Teachers who decide to work on annual contracts for the 2014-15 school year would move to the new pay scale and receive the substantial salary increase, Senate Republicans said. Those who choose to keep tenure would remain on the current pay schedule.

In addition, the proposed plan would provide an additional $39 million for pay raises for other public school employees, the news release stated. It matches Governor Pat McCrory's proposal to provide principals and other school administrators with an average two-percent increase. And non-instructional public school employees would receive a $500 flat raise, said Senate Republicans.

Furthermore, the proposal would extend supplemental pay for teachers with master's degrees to those who have completed at least one course in a graduate program as of July 1, 2013, according to the release.

Senate Republicans said the plan would also expand opportunities for local school systems to recognize and reward top performers-- by allocating funds for up to 35 percent of teachers to receive pay for excellence increases.

Senate Republicans said the raises would be paid with recurring revenue sources, not a tax hike.

"This year's Senate budget funds this record teacher pay raise and $500 million in total pay increases to public school personnel on a permanent basis without a tax increase," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow), co-chair of the Senate Appropriations/ Base Budget Committee.

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