Over the past few weeks Governor McCrory and the House both put forth plans to address North Carolina’s teacher pay problem. Today it was the Senate’s turn.
During a morning press conference Senate President, Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) laid out details of a proposal that – if it becomes law – would raise average teacher pay over two years to nearly $55,000. With the changes, North Carolina would climb 23 spots in teacher pay rankings to 24th.
The proposal would add $538 million to base teacher pay over two years.
Under the Senate proposal, the amount of time teachers need to reach the top of their pay scale is reduced from 30 years to just 15 years.
For additional details about the pay plan see: NCteacherraise.com
So what to make of the new proposal?
It’s a bold step to address a serious problem. As we don’t have details of the Senate Budget we don’t quite know exactly how the plan will be paid for. Sen. Berger had said state tax revenues had been running above expectations. The last estimate I heard was about $330 million above plan. Obviously some of those monies would be used. However a pay plan for state workers still needs to be developed and the new teacher plan is only likely to up the ante.
Key details still need to be filled in. Still, I like that the plan lessens the amount of time it takes a teacher to make peak pay – a needed change. However the raises still seemed tied to years of service and not merit pay – a significant problem with the current system.
Five-hundred-thirty-eight million is a lot of money. Republicans say they are addressing a serious problem. Cynics will say it’s an election year ploy. I haven’t seen any quotes from teacher groups. However, I don’t believe the proposal will change their general stance of opposing nearly the entire Repubilcan education budget.
Let the jockeying begin.