Education

North Carolina teacher pay moves up to 42nd in the nation

Teachers rally against high turnover and low pay on the sidewalk in front of Apex High School in 2014.
Teachers rally against high turnover and low pay on the sidewalk in front of Apex High School in 2014. ehyman@newsobserver.com

A national ranking of average teacher salaries put North Carolina at 42nd in 2014-15, with a salary of $47,819.

The data in the latest National Education Association report take into account the state pay hike of two years ago, which helped move the state up from 47th place. Legislators rewrote the teacher salary schedule and granted raises ranging from 0.3 percent to 18.5 percent. Teachers with more than 30 years experience received $1,000 bonuses but no raises.

The report put the 6.3 percent increase as the biggest in the nation that year, when the national average salary was $57,420.

From 2005 to 2015, North Carolina was one of the states with the largest declines in average teacher salaries, adjusted for inflation, with a drop of 10.2 percent.

The estimated state average this year is $47,985.

Teachers and most state employees received no raises last year, but legislators have said they will be a priority in this year’s budget. House Republicans are expected to announce proposed pay increases early next week as the House moves toward debates and votes on its spending plan. The Senate will then pass its own plan, and the two proposals will be reconciled.

Gov. Pat McCrory has recommended pay increases for teachers that would average 5 percent, along with a system of bonuses. It would be difficult for the legislature’s budget to hit that mark, given that legislative leaders have agreed that the budget increase will not exceed 2.3 percent.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner

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