Look at the average teacher salary in North Carolina.
Then look at the average pay increase that Raleigh may be giving to teachers in a certain budget cycle.
Those two values are not looking at the same set of numbers.
When politicians and policy makers in Raleigh talk about average salary they are counting in a financial factor that they want to get credit for but do not deserve known as the “local supplement.”
Some 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.
When they talk about a percentage raise for teacher salaries, those percentages only deal with what the state already pays NOT INCLUDING ANY LOCAL SUPPLEMENTS.
What gets twisted here is that in creating local supplements for teachers many mitigating factors come into light and when North Carolina begins bragging about a new average salary, it was telling you that Raleigh is placing more of a burden on local districts to create a positive spin on GOP policies.
The past few budgets that were actually passed 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 sizable local supplement to teachers because they are scrambling to fulfill other needs that a fully funded state public school system would already offer.
Yes, there have been cases where Raleigh has helped poorer rural counties with monies to help attract teachers, but doesn’t that seem like prof that the state’s recent habit of cutting corporate taxes to help fund the entire public school system has not been helpful?
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. Or even physical resources like software and desks.
What the current GOP-led NCGA did was to create a situation where local districts have to pick up more of the tab to fund everyday public school functions.
What adds to this is that this governing body is siphoning more and more tax money to entities like charter schools, Opportunity Grants, and other privatizing efforts.
Look at the interactive table of 2022-2023 local supplements offered by each LEA for which a portion is shown.
You can find a lot of info here.
Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Wake County, Charlotte-Meck, and New Hanover all offer local teacher supplements of over $9000. The state average is a little over $6,000.
Over 95 LEAs have a local supplement under that state average.
There are a couple districts that cannot afford a teacher supplement or one for administrators.
These differences can add up.
Simply put, local supplements are a big deal and complicated. It gets more complicated when the state starts placing more financial burdens on LEA’s to fulfill state mandates.
And that’s why when talking about teacher pay, whether it be overall teacher salary averages or percentage of raises, it is necessary to see if who is speaking is including or not including local teacher supplements.