Education

New teacher pay would rise to $35,000 under Gov. McCrory budget proposal

Gov. Pat McCrory reads to second- and third-graders at Dilworth Elementary in Charlotte Monday as part of the National Education Association's Read Across America Day. He also unveiled elements of his budget proposal.
Gov. Pat McCrory reads to second- and third-graders at Dilworth Elementary in Charlotte Monday as part of the National Education Association's Read Across America Day. He also unveiled elements of his budget proposal. adunn@charlotteobserver.com

Beginning teacher pay would rise to $35,000 under a budget proposal to be unveiled by Gov. Pat McCrory later this week, he said in Charlotte Monday.

The state would also set aside money that principals could use to pay teachers as they see fit, to reward teachers for taking on more responsibilities or to recruit a teacher in a hard-to-fill position.

The plan outlined Monday follows the pledge McCrory and Republican legislative leaders made in February 2014 to raise starting teacher pay to $35,000 over the next two years.

“We’re going to fulfill our promise,” McCrory said at Dilworth Elementary, after reading to a group of second- and third-grade students.

McCrory also outlined several other education proposals expected to be part of the North Carolina budget or other legislation this session:

▪ A total of $291 million in additional money for K-12 education over the current year.

▪ More money for instructional materials, with discretion given to principals on whether to use it on textbooks, computers or other areas.

▪ Expanded wireless Internet access in schools, a particular issue in rural areas. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools finished putting Wi-Fi in all its classrooms this year.

▪ A review of standardized testing, with the possibility of dropping tests that are determined to be unnecessary.

A pay raise for beginning teachers would mark the second year in a row that early career teachers would get more money while more experienced teachers would not receive a significant raise. First-year teachers currently make $33,000.

McCrory said school districts could use the discretionary pay pot to boost salaries of experienced teachers if they so desired.

He did not give details on how much money would be set aside for the discretionary pay.

CMS has taken several steps toward offering pay above the standard state salary schedule. The “opportunity culture” program, for example, offers substantial supplements to teachers who take on additional responsibility or leadership of other teachers.

McCrory praised those efforts Monday and said they would be a good model for other districts.

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn

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