It’s simple – they don’t want us to have longevity in a career as a North Carolina public school educator.
In August of 2021, teachers began a new school year and their “step” increased by another year. That “step” is the number of years served in schools. Not long ago, teachers who served the state for at least ten years would receive what was called “longevity” pay as part of their commitment to public schools. In fact, all full-time state employees receive this – or did.
Teachers no longer get it.
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. And remember that teachers/educators are the only employees in this state financed by the state who do not get longevity pay.
It’s almost like the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t even want to have teachers be considered worthy of something that others get..
For the many veteran teachers who have never really seen a raise in the past 6-7 years in actual dollars, the loss of longevity pay actually created a loss of net income on a yearly basis.
Longevity pay does mean that much to veteran teachers. It also means a lot to the NCGA because they used its elimination to help wage a systematic war against veteran teachers.
In the last eight years, new teachers entering the profession in North Carolina have seen the removal of graduate degree pay bumps and due-process rights. While the “average” salary increases have been most friendly to newer teachers (financed in part by removal of longevity), those pay “increases” do plateau at about Year 15 in a teacher’s career. Afterwards, nothing really happens. Teachers in that position may have to make career-ending decisions.
The removal of longevity might make those decisions easier to make on a personal level, but more difficult for the state to recover from.
Veteran teachers fight for schools, for students, for fairness in funding, and for the profession. When they act as a cohesive group, they represent an entity that scares the current leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly like nothing else.