The “average” salary for a North Carolina teacher has been reported to be over $53,000.
Mark Johnson claims that number. The leaders of the NCGA claim it. Many people who argue that teachers already make enough as it is with all of those “historic” raises claim it.
Here is the newest salary schedule.
So how can that be the average pay in NC be over 50K when no one can really make much over 50K as a new teacher in his/her entire career unless they all become nationally certified (which takes a monetary investment by the teacher to start)?
Easy. North Carolina is counting all of the veteran teachers’ current salaries in that figure. The people who still have graduate degree pay and maybe received National Boards when the state invested in teachers getting more professional development have an effect on that average.
Furthermore, this average is counting on local supplements. This comes in the face of budgets that are allocating less money to each central office of each school system for administrative costs. Now each county has to raise more money to actually offset those costs and also allow for local supplements. And not all localities provide the same supplements.
You may be wondering, “What the hell is that?” Well, a local supplement is an additional amount of money that a local district may apply on top the state’s salary to help attract teachers to come and stay in a particular district. While people may be fixated on actual state salary schedule, a local supplement has more of a direct effect on the way a district can attract and retain teachers, especially in this legislative climate.
My own district, the Winston-Salem /Forsyth County Schools, currently ranks in the 20’s within the state with local supplements. Our neighbor, Guilford County, ranks much higher. A decade ago, WSFCS ranked in the top five.
And local supplements are not supplied by the state. Yet the state loves taking “credit” for it when it suits its needs. But the burden of local supplements to even attract teachers in the counties that can afford those supplements falls on LEA’, not the state.
The past few budgets that were passed on the state level cut monies to the Department of Public Instruction, therefore limiting DPI’s abilities to disperse ample amounts of money to local county and city districts for various initiatives like professional development and support. When local central offices have less money to work with, they then have to prioritize their needs to match their financial resources. That means some school systems cannot offer a local supplement to teachers because they are scrambling to fulfill other needs that a fully funded state public school system would already offer.
And it is not just about whether to have a couple of program managers for the district. It’s about whether to allow class sizes to be bigger so that more reading specialists can be put into third grade classes, or more teacher assistants to help special needs kids like mine succeed in lower grades. Or even physical resources like software and desks.
Think about class-size chaos.
What the current GOP-led NCGA did was to create a situation where local districts had to pick up more of the tab to fund everyday public school functions.
Yet they are gladly using those local supplements to show why they do not have to invest more into teachers and LEA’s.