Local teachers react to McCrory’s two percent pay increase announcement

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s not much, but local teachers say they are thankful for Governor McCrory’s proposed 2 percent increase in teacher salary.

They say it’s a good first step toward fair pay and hope more salary increases will be budgeted in the future.

Brook Fearn has been teaching for seven years in Forsyth County Schools. “I’ve actually never received a pay increase since I’ve started teaching,” she told FOX8.

The discouraging pay drove Fearn to consider other career options. She’s even interviewed for jobs outside education. But in the end, she knew she was a good teacher and was meant to be an educator.

Fearn is now pursuing a master’s degree at HPU, hoping to be an administrator one day.

“Teachers would just like a little bit of respect, and this is a good place to start,” she said of Governor McCrory’s announcements Wednesday.

Veteran teachers may also be relieved.

After the governor’s announcement to increase base teacher pay earlier this year, many teachers who had years of experience felt they were left out of the promise for fair pay.

His latest proposals include $265 million for the 2 percent educator pay increase and a $1,000 pay raise for all state employees.

The Governor’s full budget request will be released next week. The legislature will have the final say.

Governor McCrory also wants to initiate a new teacher pay system called “Career Pathways for Teachers.”

CPT would determine teacher salary based on experience, performance, willingness to work in a hard-to-staff school, leadership and mentoring. The system would also account for whether teachers are working in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) position, some of the hardest to keep filled.

Planning and piloting CPT next year is estimated to cost $9 million, said the Governor’s staff.

The following year would cost $18-20 million.

The plan is to fully implement CPT by 2017-18.

Guilford County’s Mentor Teacher of the Year Paula Williams teaches students with learning disabilities at Pilot Elementary. Teachers used to get paid for mentoring and guiding new teachers. Now she does this work in addition to her full time duties “out of the goodness of her heart,” Williams said with a laugh.

“Not that I’m teaching for the money, but that is my income, and I feel like any raise, even the 2 percent, is going to recognize that teaching is important,” she explained.

Williams is “thrilled” about the Governor’s announcement. She, of course, wishes the salary increase was more.

With 25 years in GCS, Williams said a raise would be an encouraging nod to veteran teachers.

“If we really want to value education, and be an ‘education state,’” she pointed out, “I think it’s time to step up and give teachers the raise they deserve.”

Dr. Don Martin is the former Superintendent for Forsyth County Schools and teaches at High Point University. Pay has become a “morale issue” for educators, he explained.

“That clearly is going to impact a brand new student teacher wanting to go into the profession. If you happen to be from Connecticut, you might be thinking you want to go back to Connecticut,” he added.

They hope if the proposals pass through the legislative budget session, the pay increases will be a first step to addressing teacher turnover rates in North Carolina.

“There’s still a lot of details, and there’s some out there 2019-18 decisions,” Dr. Martin said. “But there’s something immediate to say to teachers- we value you.”

8 comments

  • Cyndi

    Another channel reported the 2% raise will not into effect until 2017 yet nothing is said here. What is the story?

  • Tim Hamberstan

    First of all it is very disrespectful for FOX 8 to go to Dr. Martin, the former superintendent instead of Dr. Emory the current superintendent. It is already hard enough for Emory to get out of the shadows of Martin especially when agencies like FOX 8 do this.

    Second, while the State is proposing a 2% increase, the county may very well do a decrease in salary much like they did a couple of years ago. There is still no telling how much Obamacare is going to cause the cost of health insurance to go up for the teachers.

  • Chucky

    Some are saying an average 2%. If history is an indicator, the older, more experienced teachers will get .25% and the newer ones will get 4% or more. There are other state employees who are payed even less compared to similar salaries around the country so Teachers are not alone. Other employees didn’t benefit from the “bonus leave” though, like the teachers did. The state handed those out during the last 5 years in lieu of raises.

  • Stephen

    One thing is for sure….teachers will never be satisfied. Ang, you are correct. No one else is getting raises but teachers. The military, who protect our country, put their lives on the line, are separated from their families, and face much harsher conditions than any teacher could ever imagine, continue to take pay cuts. Many get paid far below the proposed minimum wage of $10.10/hr.

    Additionally, if you are a teacher, at some point, you must have been made aware that teachers do not make much money. You then continued for 4 years in college, to become a teacher. It was YOUR CHOICE. Now you all complain, and nothing is ever enough. I am so sick of teachers, that I can’t stand to even see one. By the way, maybe it would help your cause if you could curtail the molesting of students!

    PATHETIC!

    • Patrick

      Where did you get your education? It was with a teacher in each classroom teaching your right? You are an idiot to the facts.

  • Steve

    Stephen…what a sad life you must have to not even be able to stand to see a teacher! First off, teachers don’t get into this profession for the money, but they do believe they should be paid a fair wage. When most teachers started, there was a pay scale similar to the one in the military, with annual increases based on years of service. For the past 6 years there have been no increases and the pay bands stay the same. I know the military has been seeing cuts in benefits but their years of service increases have not stopped. I was in the military and still have many friends and family who have told me that their increases are still happening.

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