NCAE: Looking Out For Children, Members, or Itself?

Read NCAE Executive Compensation: Round II

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) portrays itself as concerned with the interests of students and public education.  Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. NCAE represents the interests of approximately 50,000 teachers and public school employees who pay them. NCAE tax documents state the real purpose of its mission:

  • “[Tax] Exempt purpose is to advance the interests of educators and the promotion and protection of welfare of the association’s members”1
  • “To advance the interests of the teaching profession”2

While Schools Suffer, NCAE is Immune from Current Economic Hardship

Over the past several years, NCAE has bemoaned declining average teacher salaries, the loss of ABC Bonuses and rising insurance premiums. However, NCAE seems immune from these troubling trends.

  • In 2009, NCAE took in more than $11 million in total revenue,3 including $8.8 million in membership dues
  • Total NCAE revenue has increased from $10.1 million (2006) to $11 million (2009)
  • According to the NCAE web site, average dues for teachers for 2009-10 were about $370/year 4
  • Since 2006, the number of NCAE employees has increased from 86 to 135, an expansion of 56 percent
  • NCAE spent $7.9 million on salary and compensation in 2009. Divided among 135 employees, this generates an average salary and compensation: $58,719 5
  • Compensation as a percentage of total NCAE expenses has increased from 66 percent (2006) to 72 percent (2009)

NCAE Compensation: 2006-2009

Total compensation for the top four NCAE executives increased on average 24 percent between 2006 and 2009. Over the same time period, the average teacher salary and compensation in North Carolina increased about 12 percent.6

NCAE Compensation

Highest Paid NCAE Employees 2009
Name Salary
+ Comp[7]
= Total
John Ferguson
John Ferguson
Memb. Mgr.
+ $50,409
= $169,530
Claudia Williams
Claudia Williams
Legal Serv. Mgr.
+ $49,020
= $161,450
Angela Farthing
Angela Farthing
Teach & Learn. Mgr.
+ $48,048
= $157,927
Sheri Strickland
Sheri Strickland
NCAE President
+ $7,227
= $150,834
Avg. Total Compensation $176,796
Highest Paid NCAE Employees 2009
Name Salary
+ Comp[7]
= Total
Scott Anderson
Scott Anderson
Exec. Director
+ $94,120
= $229,120
Kelvin Spragley
Kelvin Spragley
Assoc. Exec. Dir.
+ $55,813
= $190,360
Jacqueline Vaughan
Jacqueline Vaughan
Comm. Manager
+ $56,108
= $183,788
Rodney Ellis
Rodney Ellis
Vice President
+ $59,666
= $171,362

NCAE and Your Money

NCAE is classified as a 501(c) 6 tax exempt organization. Among other things the designation  allows for lobbying and contributions to political campaigns. NCAE joins hands with its parent organization National Education Association (NEA) to influence political campaigns. The NCAE Constitution requires NCAE members to be members of NEA, the largest teachers union in the nation.8 Membership in NEA requires even more membership dues. This fall teachers will pay an average of $237 to NCAE and $178 to NEA for annual dues.9

NCAE frequently criticizes the influence of powerful corporate interests in American politics. However the fact is NEA and its local affiliates like NCAE represent the largest political influence on American politics. Let’s look at the numbers:

  • In 2008, NEA spent $56.3 million on political campaign contributions.
  • NEA is largest political campaign spender in American politics. NEA’s contributions are larger than Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and Exxon combined10.
  • In 2009 NCAE made $710,716 in nondeductible lobbying and political expenditures11

2010 Contributions:

  • NCAE contributed $172,950 to candidates. Democrats received $170,650 in contributions (98.6 percent); Republicans received $2,300 in contributions (1.3 percent).

2008 Contributions

  • NEA and NCAE contributed $1.8 million to help Bev Perdue win the 2008 Governor’s race.
  • NEA spent another $1.7 million on campaign ads for Bev Perdue.

Such giving patterns would lead one to conclude all teachers are liberal. Are they?

  • A 2005 survey of NEA member political attitudes found NEA members “are slightly more conservative (50%) than liberal (43%) in political philosophy.”12
  • 2009 Education Next –PEPG National Survey of public school teachers found 37 percent of public school teachers somewhat or completely support the formation of charter schools. When told President Obama supports charter schools, the figure increases to 43 percent
  • When told President Obama supports merit pay, 31 percent of public school teachers express support for such proposals
Top Donors to Federal and State Political Campaigns 

2007-2008 Election Cycle

Contributor Combined State and Federal Contributions
National Education Association $56,349,269
Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians $43,960,451
Penn National Gaming $40,522,447
Morongo Band of Mission Indians $39,053,909
Service Employees International  Union $35,699,957
National Association of Realtors $28,591,134
Lakes Entertainment $25,694,898
Tribes for Fair Play No On 94,95,96 and 97 $24,754,413
ActBlue $23,183,948
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians $22,079,201
AFSCME $20,966,656
Community Financial Services Association $20,162,020
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. $18,851,800
PG&E Corp. $16,549,500
Edison International $15,133,561

Source: National Institute for the Study of Money in Politics. Data available from

NCAE Leadership Accomplishments?

  • The goal of NCAE and NEA is to protect and advance the interests of its members. These goals are achieved through higher pay and improved working conditions. Assuming teachers are not likely to receive a pay increase in the current state budget, teachers will not have received a pay increase for three consecutive budgets. What do stagnant teacher salaries and the threat of massive teacher layoffs say about the success of those efforts?
  • Not all teachers have the same political views. Yet NEA and NCAE political contributions are overwhelmingly to one party. Do you support union leadership ignoring views that differ from its far left agenda?
  • Between 2006-2009, NCAE executive salary and compensation packages have increased 24 percent. During the same time period, average salary and compensation for NCAE teachers in North Carolina increased only 12 percent. NCAE teachers have not received a salary increase in either of the last two budgets and most likely will not receive one this year. NCAE-backed candidates suffered numerous defeats last fall. Considering the lack of success, what justifies the high levels of compensation by NCAE executives?
NCAE Executive Compensation and Average Teacher Salary Compensation
2006 2009
Position Base Salary Compensation Total Base Salary Compensation Total. % Change Salary % Change Comp. % Change Total Compensation
President $105,738 $31,132 $136,870 $143,607 $7,227 $150,834 36% -77% 10%
Vice President $95,164 $34,577 $129,741 $111,696 $59,666 $171,362 17% 73% 33%
Executive Director $107,800 $57,650 $165,450 $135,000 $94,120 $229,120 25% 63% 38%
Associate Exec. Dir. $98,163 $30,439 $128,602 $99,794 $48,159 $147,953 2% 58% 15%
Avg. NCAE Executive $101,716 $38,449 $140,165 $122,524 $52,293 $174,817 20% 29.2% 24%
Ave Teacher Salary13 $43,913 $6,33314 $50,246 $48,648 $7,652 $56,300 10% 20% 12%

  1. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax,  IRS Form 990, 2006
  2. Ibid, 2008
  3. North Carolina Association of Educators, 2009 Form 990 p. 1
  4. Information from North Carolina Association of Educators web site. Information available at:
  5. North Carolina Association of Educators, 2009, Form 990, p.1
  6. Numbers from IRS 990 Forms for years 2006 and 2009. Top four positions are President, Vice President, Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director. Teacher salary figures are explained in footnotes on last page.
  7. Compensation includes retirement and other deferred compensation plus the value of nontaxable benefits. See Schedule J page 2, IRS Form 990.
  8. See NCAE Constitution. Available at:
  9. From NCAE phone conversation, May 2, 2011
  10. See: Teachers Unions Using Money to Win Friends and Influence Policy, Education Next, Fall 2010
  11. See: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, IRS Form 990, 2009
  12. Data cited in Teachers Unions: Using Money to Win Friends and Influence Policy, Education Next, Fall 2010
  13. Average Teacher Salary figures are from Highlights of North Carolina State Budget for appropriate years. Figures also include base compensation supplements as noted
  14. Compensation figure for 2006 and 2009 includes Medical Benefits and Retirement as allotted per year.
    Note: All figures for NCAE Executives from 2006 and 2009 IRS Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990.
This article was posted in Education by Bob Luebke on May 3, 2011 at 2:54 PM.

© 2011 The Civitas Institute. Visit us on the web at
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Comments on this article

  • 1

    Terry May 03, 2011 at 14:39

    I expect many school employees will be too afraid to comment on this article for fear of retribution from the one-party failure of a system governing our public schools.

  • 2

    Richard McFetters
    Richard McFetters May 04, 2011 at 7:10

    It is evident that As America goes, so do their dollars. Thusly so, it is evident that the Board Members and Officers are only interested in saving their benefits, salaries, and themselves using membership dues to litter their trail with corruption & fraud both is language and action.

  • 3

    Larry Keller
    Larry Keller May 04, 2011 at 7:55

    It is stunning that in the midst of what is a depression Version 2.0 for so many folks no matter what party affiliation that these executives experience huge increases. As we watch the battle in Raleigh over education cuts, we never see the suggestion that existing employees take a cut to save the team as in the private sector.

  • 4

    Henry Kramer
    Henry Kramer May 04, 2011 at 12:17

    With all this, the US educational system has degenerated to something like 25th in the world? NCAE is surely looking out for the teaching profession. How about the kids?

  • 5

    Karna Godridge
    Karna Godridge May 04, 2011 at 15:24

    All this money going everywhere EXCEPT toward educating our children. Working as a volunteer I am shocked at how much is lacking in true education. Teachers, teacher aides, volunteers and others…but no one teaching a classroom of knowledge-hungry kids. Way too much emphasis on “those tests” and far too little on educating. It’s very sad and gives the reason we are so far behind.

  • 6

    John Robinson
    John Robinson May 05, 2011 at 15:06

    I would really be interested in seeing all the salaries of the employees at the Civitas Institute too. While you’re at it, how about posting who pays your bills too.

  • 7

    Jay Grimes
    Jay Grimes May 06, 2011 at 12:26

    I (as would my family of school teachers) admitt that the salaries listed above are egregious given recent economic trends. Along with Mr. Robinson, I would also find it interesting to see the CIVITAS and John Locke foundation top employee salaries displayed for public view. Can you stand the same scrutiny?

  • 8

    Bob Luebke
    Bob Luebke May 06, 2011 at 14:18

    Mr. Grimes:

    You are welcome to use Guidestar ( — as we did — to search the financial information of various non-profit organizations.


  • 9

    John Joseph
    John Joseph May 10, 2011 at 15:49

    To John Robinson: most recent 990 shows $965,000 funding from the John William Pope Foundation & $9,120 from Donor’s Capital Fund. Total compensation for Frank Deluca, $87,664. Deluca is also President of the Civitas Action, Inc. same funder….no 990 on file for this organization. I wonder if his compensation from that group equals his the John william Pope Civitas Institute? Sweet deal for DeLuca, 9% of the funding for Civitas Institute goes to his salary. By that standard, the head of NCAE should be making $990,000.

  • 10

    Eric Blues
    Eric Blues May 15, 2011 at 0:06

    Typical of ANY UNION!!!!!….just out to collect and take the monies of the working Tax Payers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Stop It Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We Are Broke!

    No More Catering To An Individual Group of “government employees” that don’t know what hard work is, as when you work for the Private Sector!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 11

    Rebecca Smith
    Rebecca Smith May 19, 2011 at 8:41

    This article is most enlightening! My mother has been a teacher for over 30 years, and as a conservative, has always resented having to pay dues to the liberal teacher’s union. The NCAE cares only about advancing the interests of the far left. Their interest in “the children” ends with brainwashing them with their liberal ideology.

  • 12

    Karen May 26, 2011 at 0:28

    I so wish union people would understand that the only people truly benefiting are those in power, they make huge salaries with huge benefits and make all the decisions for you. They spend your money to buy elections of people that have no experience. My wish is that Americans vote for people not by party but by who they are and their track records vs. Listening to any pundits or union bosses that just want your money. FYI, MEDICARE according to the current administration will be GONE in 9 years! YES, GONE, so people can moan all they want about the program not being changed, fine, just know it will not be there for anyone who is now 46 years old unless Americans smarten up. And BTW the last time the budget was balanced.? Yes u der Clinton WITH A TOTAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESS, so folks STOP being lead like a lamb to the slaughter and do your own investigation of these things BEFORE you vote I 2012. And remember that the previous Democratic Congress was in place the last TWO years of Bush, Iam an independent for a reason. I cheek the facts, you should too.

  • 13

    shelley May 27, 2011 at 12:28

    The ill informed Rebecca Smith must be posing as a teacher’s daughter or her mother is a moron and should have been fired long ago for her inability to understand the simple facts: NCAE is voluntary. No one is forced to join- No campaign donations are EVER made from the association to any candidate— And the Republican house is making a joke of our democracy as well as re-writing legislature contrary to our constitution— so I am confused a union which represents thousands should be silenced so we may all listen to the voice of a very few wealthy individuals and yes Art Pope; you would be one of the few and obviously another person who does not understand democracy.

  • 14

    Jim Stegall
    Jim Stegall Jul 18, 2011 at 13:11

    Now Shelly, be fair! You know full well that in many LEAs teachers are under a lot of pressure to join NCAE. And even where they are not, they are still tricked into joining by misleading claims about what the organization is, what it does with the money it collects, and how many other teachers are members (less than 40,000 out of over 100,000 NC teachers). If you’ve spent any time at all in the NCAE you surely must have noticed how loose the leadership is with the truth.

    As for dues money being used for political purposes, you are just flat-out mistaken. The NCAE finds all sorts of ways to divert dues money into political campaigns, and all of it in furtherance of the leftist agenda. I’m just glad to see that the NCAE’s abuses of the truth and of our education system are finally beginning to come to light.

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