Please do not look at that average 5% salary raise for teachers and think that all teachers are getting a 5% raise. Besides the fact that it includes already in place step increases and that it is over two years (the budget is biennial), average means that some people get a bigger percentage raise than others. Veteran teachers are not getting much of a raise.
What is even more egregious is that there were conditions and other elements that had been taken away years ago that were not even remotely restored in this new budget that is three years overdue while the state is sitting on enormous surplus without even addressing LEANDRO.
What a veteran teacher received ten years ago compared to what a veteran teacher who would start a career in NC today is quite startling.
Not only is there a significant loss in projected income but ramifications on being able to get health care after retirement and not having to fear reprisal in standing up for students and schools in advocating.
Specifically there are four distinct actions taken to keep teachers in NC’s public schools from retiring as teachers in public schools.
Removal of due-process rights. At one time the NC General Assembly took away due-process rights for all teachers. It was ruled unconstitutional by the court system in the case for those veteran teachers who already got those rights when they became fully certified. However, newer teachers in the profession will not get due-process rights in North Carolina. That will surely inhibit those teachers from advocating loudly for schools in the future for fear of reprisal.
Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed – Because advanced degree pay is abolished, many potential teachers will never enter the field because that is the only way to receive a sizable salary increase to help raise a family or afford to stay in the profession. It also cripples graduate programs in the state university system because obtaining a graduate degree for new teachers would place not only more debt on teachers, but there is no monetary reward to actually getting it.
Longevity Pay – In the long session of 2014, the NC General Assembly raised salaries for teachers in certain experience brackets that allowed them to say that an “average” salary for teachers was increased by over 7%. They called it a “historic raise.” However, if you divided the amount of money used in these “historic” raises by the number of teachers who “received” them, it would probably amount to about $270 per teacher.That historic raise was funded in part by eliminating teachers’ longevity pay. Similar to an annual bonus, this is something that all state employees in North Carolina — except, now, for teachers — gain as a reward for continued service. The budget rolled that money into teachers’ salaries and labeled it as a raise. That’s like me stealing money out of your wallet and then presenting it to you as a gift.
Retiree Health Benefits – If you are hired as a new teacher after 2020 is over, you will not have something that teachers hired before 2021 have: retiree health benefits. A recent report in the News & Observer explains that the budget set forth in 2017’s long session of the NCGA did away with retiree health benefits for hires on and after January 1, 2021 to “save money.”
No wonder NC has a teacher shortage and a teacher candidate shortage.