While on the school board late last year, Joyce Waddell and her colleagues were unhappy that the state legislature’s salary plan didn’t give experienced teachers much of a raise.
Now just a few weeks into her first term in the state Senate, the Mecklenburg County Democrat has introduced a bill that would take care of that.
Senate Bill 384 would commit $20 million to raise the pay for teachers who have spent more than three decades in the classroom. The monthly salary would go from $5,000 per month to $5,090 for 30-year teachers to as much as $5,665 for teachers with more than 36 years experience.
That comes out to roughly a 2 percent raise on the low end to 13 percent for the teachers with the most longevity.
“In order to produce the brightest and best workers in this state, we must retain the brightest and best teachers,” Waddell said in a statement. “This bill gives our most veteran teachers the support they deserve, and shows that North Carolina values dedication and experience in our education system.”
The bill is unlikely to get much traction because of the realities of Raleigh. But it’s certain to draw support from the politically active teacher groups who lobbied hard against the state’s teacher pay plan last year.
Last year, the state budget included a teacher pay raise that amounted to an average of 7 percent. However, younger teachers received the bulk of the benefit – as much as an 18 percent raise. Experienced teachers fared worse, with some getting less than 1 percent.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget plan continues that trend. It would boost entry-level teacher salaries to $35,000 while not including money for experienced teacher raises.