- Newest data shows gains in Wake County teacher salaries
- 57 percent of WCPSS teachers earn more than $50,000
- Influx of new teachers drags down average salary
Teacher pay is a topic that just won’t go away. After continued public discussion, the legislature this year approved teacher pay raises that would – on average – increase teacher pay 4.7 percent statewide, and, according to the McCrory administration and legislative leadership, for the first time, increase average teacher pay above $50,000.
But how much do you know about teacher pay – at least in the state’s largest school district: Wake County? For instance, what percentage of Wake County teachers make more than $50,000? What is the average salary for Wake County teachers?
To answer such questions, we obtained through a public records request 2016 salary data for teachers from Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS).
The salary data we analyzed is for WCPSS full-time teachers (defined as 90 percent time or greater). Salary figures are annualized and include state, local (In 2015-16 WCPSS local salary supplement was $6,975) and other financial supplements (i.e., doctoral supplement, master’s supplement, NBPTS certification, etc.).
Source: Wake County Public Schools
What did we find?
- Wake County has 9,991 full-time teachers
- Average teacher salary is $53,605
- 57 percent of WCPSS teachers make more than $50,000
- About one quarter (23 percent) of WCPSS teachers earn between $40,000-$45,000
- 34 percent of WCPSS teachers (3,361) earn between $50,000-$60,000
- 13 percent of WCPSS teachers (1,308) earn $65,000 or more
Several Points Worth Noting:
Average Salary and Size: The column with the salary range with the highest number of teachers was $40,000-$45,000, which suggests a very young teaching faculty. WCPSS has attracted young teachers because of the quality of the district and the pay scale, but also because it’s a growing district. Those factors would contribute to tamping down average teacher salaries.
Teachers and Additional Salary. Fifty-seven percent of WCPSS teachers earn more than $50,000. Many of these teachers’ salaries include supplemental pay through longevity and pay differentials. While new teachers are not eligible for pay differentials offered for masters or doctoral degrees, teachers can receive a supplement for masters and doctoral degrees. In addition, certification by the Office of National Board of Professional Teachers Standards boosts pay by 12 percent. Accessing pay differentials is one route through which teachers have significantly increased pay levels.
What is happening? Teacher pay in Wake County Public Schools is rising. An analysis of 2015 data revealed 53 percent of teachers earned less than $50,000. In addition, almost 2,100 teachers of the second lowest salary range ($40-000 to $45,000) – about 55 percent of all teachers in that group – earned the exact same salary, $40,162.50. That aberration no longer exists, in large part to salary increases. Are higher teacher incomes a Wake County phenomena? WCPSS also employs about 10 percent of all public school teachers in North Carolina. WCPSS teachers certainly benefit from the local supplement. However, about 75 percent of all teachers in North Carolina are funded by taxpayers across the state.
Average WCPSS Teacher Salary: $53,605
Median WCPSS Teacher Salary $52,361
Average Household Income in NC: $62,851
Average Household Income in Wake County: $85,245
Median Family Income in Wake County: $66,579
Median Family Income in NC: $46,693
Teacher pay is improving in Wake County and North Carolina. While we continue to work to improve salaries, we hope accurate data informs and guides those discussions.
 Quick Facts, US Census Bureau. Available online at: http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/37183