Within the last ten years, the number of teacher candidates in this state’s education schools have decreased by approximately one-third, the North Carolina Teacher Fellows was dismantled and then brought back as a shadow of its former self, graduate degree pay bumps were removed for new hires in 2014, and longevity pay for teachers was taken away making educators the only state employees to not receive it.
Most all of the 117 LEA’s in this state that comprise our state’s public school system have experienced vacancies. In fact, just two weeks ago over 40 county instructional coaches in WSFCS were removed from their jobs and placed in schools that had teacher vacancies. Professional development and support were then instantly removed from the schools. And this is happening in what officials are calling an economic boom. To say that local supplements is important in recruiting teachers and keeping them is an understatement. That’s why the sales tax referendum is important – you need to keep teachers not only in the profession, but also in our local schools.
Not too long ago WSFCS ranked in the top five in the state for local supplements. We are now in the high twenties. Every other school system that is at least our size has a higher supplement. One of those systems borders our county.
Having a great school that services our students is also one of the reasons many families come here to live. Any residential realtor can tell you that one of the first questions that a potential buyer might ask of a home is “what are the schools like in the area?” Schools simply are a foundation of a community.
Teachers are worth investing in. Schools are worth honoring. When you have great teachers in a great school, you have something that is the envy of so many other communities.
And it can’t be taken for granted. Thank you for listening.