The N&O yesterday included an article about a Stokes County teacher who took to Facebook to post his paycheck, with the goal to “show how little educators in his state are compensated for the important work they do.”
Stokes County English teacher Nick Brandes‘ take-home pay is $1,715.81 per month, after taxes, his daughter’s insurance and childcare, he said.
That figure is not super insightful, however, without knowing how much the childcare and insurance are. Some context would be helpful.
The teacher claims to be a 32-year old in his tenth year of teaching, who laments that he can’t attend tomorrow’s teacher rally because taking the day off would dock his pay $75, a price too steep to pay.
A North Carolina teacher with 10 years of experience makes about $40,550 per year before taxes, according to state salary data. A Stokes County teacher also receives a county supplement, about 4 percent of their annual pay, according to the school system. That would mean a teacher with Brandes’ level of experience makes about $42,172 per year before taxes.
Census data tells us the median household income in Stokes County is $42,489. So his salary alone puts his household income at the county median.
The teacher, however, proceeds to tell us “My wife is also a teacher and is in the same boat.” So even if his wife earns the average salary for a beginning teacher in NC of $35,000, without any local subsidy, their household income rises to about $75,000; which is 77% higher than the county median household income.
This also assumes neither teacher has additional pay due to Master’s degree or National Board certification supplements.
Then there is the value of benefits like health insurance and state-funded retirement contributions, which adds between $15 – $20k to the value of their compensation.
Finally, there is the fact that this 32-year old already with 10 years experience would be eligible to retire by age 53 (with 30 years experience), with full pension benefits and free health insurance for the rest of his life.