On Monday, August 9, the North Carolina House of Representatives revealed their version of the budget for the biennium in its entirety. The budget includes the North Carolina House’s proposal for educator salaries and many education law changes. Earlier, we sent a legislative alert to discuss budget items that were part of the PENC Big Three for educators. The following is a more extensive look at the North Carolina House’s version of the state budget and how it meshes with the PENC Big Three:
#1 SALARY PENC helped promote spending more for teachers by working with the appropriations chairs to include a 5.5% average pay increase as opposed to the 3.0% previously proposed by the North Carolina Senate. While we are happy that we were able to get more, our work is not finished.
The following is the proposed salary schedule in the state budget. Also, please note that the dollar amounts reflect the salary for a single month. To figure out the salary for the year, simply multiply by ten. The scale also does not reflect additional pay for those who still receive master’s pay or national boards:
PART VII-A. COMPENSATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEES
TEACHER SALARY SCHEDULE 8 SECTION 7A.1.(a) The following monthly teacher salary schedule shall apply for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to licensed personnel of the public schools who are classified as teachers.
The salary schedule is based on years of teaching experience.
2021-2022 Teacher Monthly Salary Schedule :
Years of Experience "A" Teacher certification
0 $3,500 6 $4,100 11 $4,600 16 $5,050* 21 $5,300*
1 $3,600 7 $4,200 12 $4,700 17 $5,100 * 22 $5,350*
2 $3,700 8 $4,300 13 $4,800 18 $5,150* 23 $5,400*
3 $3,800 9 $4,400 14 $4,900 19 $5,200 * 24 $5,450*
4 $3,900 10 $4,500 15 $5,000 20 $5,250* 25+ $5,550*
* Denotes the average 5.5% increases
Licensed teachers who have NBPTS certification shall receive a salary supplement each month of twelve percent (12%) of their monthly salary on the "A" salary schedule. (2) Licensed teachers who are classified as "M" teachers shall receive a salary supplement each month of ten percent (10%) of their monthly salary on the "A" salary schedule. (3) Licensed teachers with licensure based on academic preparation at the six-year degree level shall receive a salary supplement of one hundred twenty-six dollars ($126.00) per month in addition to the supplement provided to them as "M" teachers. (This scale and text was copied from the NC House State Budget)
Additional Salary Items Include:
In addition to the pay increase, all state employees and school personnel employed for the entire time of 3/10/2020 – 10/1/2021 will receive a bonus of $500. The bonus is increased to $1,500 for those earning less than $75,000. This includes all principals as well. The bonus is increased to $2,000 for all those earning less than $40,000.
The budget redirects funding for grades 3-8 reading and math bonuses to cover an additional $300 bonus for all teachers and ISPs. However, the budget does continue to cover up to $3,500 for AP, AICE, CTE, and IB bonuses.
Restores Master’s Pay with some new modifications. PENC will report further on this in a future report.
Prohibits local school systems from charging a teacher $50 for substitute pay if a reason is given for taking personal leave. PENC believes the intent is good but we do have some concern about having to give a reason for the personal day.
Principals will receive a 1% increase in each step of their salary schedule. Also, their salaries will be held harmless for those earning more under the 2016-17 salary schedules before the new one was created. There will also be a $1,800 bonus in addition to the bonus described above for school performance bonuses that are typically related to school performance.
Assistant principals will continue to be on the teacher pay schedule and they will receive the teacher pay increase plus 3%. Advanced degree supplements are phased out, but those who currently have them will be held harmless.
School Psychologists will receive a $1,000 salary increase.
School Counselors will have their pay tied to the school psychologist’s salary schedule.
Noncertified staff will get the higher of 2.5% increase or a $13 minimum wage during the first year of the biennium. They will get the higher of a 2.5% increase or a $15 minimum wage in year two of the biennium.
Retirees will not receive a COLA but they will receive a 2% bonus each year of the biennium.
#2 HEALTH INSURANCE FOR NEW HIRES AT RETIREMENT PENC took on the fight to restore health benefits for new hires when they retire. This budget calls for a health reimbursement arrangement to be created for new hires so they can get through the gap years until they are Medicare eligible. This solution was not the health insurance we believe all teachers deserve when they retire, but this is a huge leap from receiving nothing upon retirement. Again, this only applies to the new hires in ’21 and beyond. All other teachers will receive the benefits they were promised when they began their career.
#3 ACCOUNTABILITY PENC stood up for our teachers and advocated that accountability measures, including school grades, be suspended due to the strife the pandemic caused. This proposed budget does just that and temporarily suspends accountability.
PENC is concerned that language was included that will increase the workload for teachers by requiring lesson plans to be posted to the school website daily. This seems unnecessary and burdensome to our already stressed educators. We will continue to advocate against this legislation.
Please keep in mind this is not the final step of the budget process. Each of the two chambers has now produced their version of the state budget. Negotiations between the two chambers should soon begin, and that will produce a conference report which is the final version. The conference report will receive a vote in both chambers, and then the bill will be presented to the governor for his approval. The governor will have ten days to sign, veto, or refuse to sign. Only a veto would prevent the bill from becoming law. He can refuse to sign the document to show his lack of support, but it will still become law.
We will keep you posted. Stay tuned……