- Education comprises 55 percent of the state budget. K-12 education accounts for 70 percent of that.
- House adds $377 million, Senate $277 million to current $8.4 billion K-12 budget.
- Teacher raises: House includes a 4.1 percent average raise to bring average teacher pay to $50,000; Senate provides average raises of 13.1percent over two years to boost average teacher pay to $54,000
Approximately 55 percent of North Carolina’s $21.9 billion state budget is spent on education. About 70 percent of all money devoted to education is spent on K-12 education.
The House and Senate recently passed their budgets proposals. Spending for K-12 education for the current budget is $8.4 billion. The new House budget proposal adds $378 million, the Senate budget adds about $277 million. Aside from the money, there are calls for creating or eliminating programs and tinkering with others. For those of you interested in a quick overview of the House and Senate education budgets, the best documents to review are here and here.
For those of you who don’t want to get lost in the details but want an understanding of the key points, and where most of the discussion and legislative maneuvering are likely to take place, here are some numbers to aid your understanding.
- $101 million – the spending difference between the Senate and House education budgets. Total spending for K-12 education is $8.4 billion, so the difference is about 1.1 percent of total K-12 spending.
- $161 million – cost of House pay plan for teachers; $280 million – cost of Senate pay plan.
- 1 percent and $50,000 – Average pay increase for teachers and average teacher salary under House plan.
- 5 percent and $54,000 – Average teacher pay increase and average teacher salary in two years under Senate pay plan.
- 25 years – Number of years teacher with B.S. degree must work to earn $50,000 salary.
- 15 years – Number of years teacher with B.S. degree would work under Senate pay plan to earn $50,000 salary.
- 2 percent, step increase and $500 – Under the House budget, school-administrators receive a 2 percent salary increase along with an experience-based step increase. Those not eligible for step increase, would receive $500 bonus. .
- One Step, $500, $2,000 – Under the Senate budget, eligible school-based administrators receive a one-step increase, assistant principals receive a $500 bonus and principals would receive a $2,000 bonus.
- $5,659 – Proposed health insurance cost the state would pay per education employee under both Senate and House budgets. In 2015-16, cost of health insurance per employee was $5,471.
- 8 percent – Proposed increase in state retirement contribution per employee under the House pay plan. The current rate is 15.32 percent of average salary. Under House budget, the state retirement contribution would increase to 16.55 percent.
- 2 percent – The rate of increase in the state contribution for teacher retirement costs under the Senate budget. The change would boost rates from 15.32 to 15.64 percent.
- $50 – The bonus each teacher would receive — per student — under a House budget proposal. To be eligible, teachers must have students who take either Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate courses and achieve a certain grade. (Senate: no action).
- $10 million –The cost of a Senate pilot program to provide bonuses to the top 25 percent of 3rd-grade reading teachers based on evaluation results. (House no action).
- $57 million – Savings in House budget because non-instructional personnel costs will be funded by lottery receipts.
- $107 million – Savings in Senate budget because non-Instructional personnel costs and partial transportation costs will be funded by lottery receipts.
- 12 percent – Salary increase literacy coaches would receive under a provision in the House budget to make them eligible for the same increase as those teachers who receive National Board of Professional Teacher Standards Certification and serve in Title I schools. (Senate: no action).
- $25 million – Cost of program under House budget to have literacy coaches work with 20 percent of lowest-performing elementary schools. To fund the program, House eliminates $26 million targeted for hiring additional first-grade teachers. (Senate: no action).
- $10 million – Amount Senate saves by eliminating School Connectivity Initiative. (House: no action).
- $2 million – Funding House budget provides for merit-based scholarship program to recruit and prepare resident student to serve as teachers in hard-to-staff licensure areas and schools. (Senate no action).
- $9.4 million – Funding added to House budget to accelerate implementation of state digital learning plan. (Senate: no action).
- $27 million – Funding added to Senate budget to reduce classroom teacher/student ratio in second grades. (House eliminated funding).
- $20 million – Amount House budget reduces Read-To-Achieve Reading Camps. (Senate: no action).
- $1.9 million – Amount Senate budget reduces from the Department of Public Instruction budget, about 4.8 percent of current budget. (House: no action).
- $5 million – Amount Senate budget reduces central office administrative allotment. (House: no action)
- $7.5 million – Amount House adds to UNC Principal Preparation Program. Initial program funding: $1 million. Senate budget eliminates $1 million from program.
- 15 percent – Amount Senate budget increases Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship. Total funding $5.9 million. (House: no action).
- $34.8 million – Amount Senate budget designates for Opportunity Scholarship Fund Reserve. Provision would increase funding levels by $10 million each year until 2027-28. (House: no action).
Teacher Pay Proposals: The Outlines
The House pay plan is targeted more on middle ranges of pay. Raises are generally across-the-board.
“For the last two years, we have worked to bring starting teacher pay up. Now we’re working on addressing the middle ranges of teacher experience and continuing to make sure that we can be competitive and retain those experienced teachers. Ultimately, the House’s goal is to see us be at or above the average teacher salary for the Southeast.”
– Rep. Nelson Dollar, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The Senate pay plan is focused on providing an immediate salary boost and shortening the length of time it takes for teachers to reach peak pay. Merit- and performance-based pay raises are also included.
According to Senate chief Phil Berger, the Senate plan “will make North Carolina the Southeast’s leader in teacher pay and encourage the best and the brightest in the teaching profession to make a long-term commitment to our students and to our state.” 
|Comparison of Senate and House Teacher Pay Plans|
|Years of Service||House||Senate|
|1-5 years||4.1 percent increase||4.8 percent increase|
|10 years||5 percent||6.25 percent|
|15 years||3.4 percent||7.5 percent|
|20 years||3.2 percent||3.8 percent|
|25 years||2 percent||No raise|
For a comprehensive look at the history of North Carolina education legislation since 1985, be sure to check out the Civitas Institute’s Public Policy Series here.
 House Would Gave Raises to State Workers and Teachers, Charlotte Observer, May 16, 2016
 Senate GOP would pay teachers more than House, McCrory, Education Week, May 26, 2016
Bill Garrity says
I’d like to see the total spending on teacher salaries. Dividing that by the number of teachers in NC would be the easiest way to figure out average teacher pay.
I’m not finding that.