Teachers across the state of North Carolina to get 3 percent pay raise after Governor Cooper signs Senate bill

Teachers across the state of North Carolina to get 3 percent pay raise after Governor Cooper signs Senate bill

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) — On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation officially paving the way for teacher pay raises across the state. Senate Bill 332, which authorizes the 3 percent teacher pay raise first approved by lawmakers last year, became law — but educators say more needs to be done.

Elliot Brody has been with Wake County Public Schools for ten years.

“When I first came to the county, it was an extremely competitive county to get a job. And if you went to a job fair, people would be pouring out of the building, their resumes were piled high in front of everyone’s desks. Now it’s scarce, honestly,” he said.

Even with state-level help coming in the form of 3 percent pay raises, Brody says the last few years have been tough on morale, and he’s seen many of his colleagues disengage.

“The truth is that they are irreplaceable. If you take an experienced teacher out of office, you cannot replace him with someone who comes off the street. That is not that kind of profession,” he said.

Teacher pay has become a hot topic in the Triangle after Durham Public Schools’ pay crisis sparked strikes and the resignation of Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. Durham County passed a new budget last month that includes a more than $20 million funding increase for DPS.

In Wake County, dozens of public school employees protested for better pay during a budget meeting in late May, after which county commissioners approved a more than $58 million increase in funding for Wake schools.

The president of the Wake County teachers union says the responsibility doesn’t lie with them.

“The General Assembly needs to do the right thing. It is their constitutional mandate to fully fund public schools across the state. And so local residents have the burden of passing on as much money as possible to fund public schools,” said Christina Spears, president of Wake NCAE.

In a statement following the signing of SB 332, Governor Cooper called on lawmakers to take action.

“The Legislature should pay our teachers significantly more, as North Carolina has already fallen to 38th in the nation for teacher pay and invests nearly $5,000 less per student than the national average,” Cooper said. “Our state has the resources to make meaningful investments to help our public school students and now is the time to do so.”

It is not yet clear when the now approved salary increases will be officially applied to salaries, but they do include back pay up to July 1.

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