NC Senator Bill Cook: Above.
Raleigh, N.C. Sen. Bill Cook (R-District 1) announced today his support for a plan unveiled by Gov. Pat McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis to make North Carolina’s starting teacher salaries among the highest in the Southeast.
The new plan will increase starting and early career teacher pay by $2,200 this year and by an additional $2,000 the following year. The state’s top leaders said it is the first step toward improving teacher and state employee salaries – and they intend to announce pay increases for more teachers and state employees as the revenue outlook becomes clearer and available.
“There’s no greater investment we can make than in preparing our kids for the future, and there’s no question that high-quality teachers lead to better student achievement,” McCrory, Forest, Berger and Tillis said in a joint statement. “That’s why we are committed to boosting starting and early career teacher pay to $35,000 over the next two years. Making North Carolina a regional leader and nationally competitive will help us attract the very best talent to our schools and brand our state as a teaching destination, not a layover.”
Historically, North Carolina’s starting teacher pay has been noncompetitive. Under this new plan, teachers just beginning their careers will receive a more than 13 percent raise over the next two years, with starting salaries moving from the current base rate of $30,800 to $35,000. And all teachers in their first 10 years of teaching – more than 42,500 educators across North Carolina – will receive a pay increase.
“My goal for education is every educator’s goal; I want our students in North Carolina to have the best education possible. Since, the General Assembly adjourned in late July, I have been out in the district talking with educators and students. I’m happy to report that I have visited with about twenty schools in seven out of the eight counties in N.C. Senate District One,” cook said. “I greatly appreciate everything that our educators do and we should reward them appropriately. This pay increase for starting and early career teachers is another step in our journey to achieve the best educational system in the Southeast. However, this is only the first step of a shared commitment by Republican leaders to improve teacher and state employee salaries.”
Cook also said he supports a new plan to extend supplemental pay for teachers with Master’s degrees to those who have completed at least one course in a graduate program as of July 1, 2013.
Analysis from the General Assembly’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division shows more than 42,500 teachers will be impacted by the $4,200 increase in entry and early career pay:
Entry level and early career teachers are not the only teachers who will receive pay raises in 2014. The General Assembly passed Pay for Excellence as part of the Excellent Public Schools Act included in section 9.5 of the 2013 State Budget
. Pay for Excellence will raise pay for another 25 percent of the teaching workforce (between 22,500 and 25,000 teachers), and only experienced teachers (going into their fourth year or more of teaching) are eligible. Pay for Excellence will give North Carolina’s best teachers a total of $5,000 in additional pay over the next four years through $500 per year permanent raises.
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