Education
3:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

McCrory Announces Increase in Starting Pay for Teachers

Credit WFDD Photo by Molly Burke

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory returned Monday to Jamestown’s Ragsdale High School – his alma mater - to announce an increase in pay for new teachers.

McCrory said the state will boost starting pay 14 percent over the next two years. The governor said the current entry pay isn’t enough to raise a family, and many young teachers are struggling under the debt of student loans. After the raises go into effect, the state’s entry salary will be $35,000. According to McCrory, about 42,000 teachers will benefit from the raise.

“Our intention is to build a strong foundation for the future,” he said. "The cornerstone of this foundation must start from the bottom up, and this will strengthen North Carolina’s structure for recruiting and retaining the best teachers.”

Ragsdale English teacher Suzanne van Thillo said she hopes the raises will help attract new teachers and give them confidence that the state will support them during their careers. But she’s worried that experienced teachers won’t get a similar benefit. 

“If the rest of us don’t get that same boost, I’m concerned that the new teachers are going to lap me,” van Thillo said. “I’ve got 16 years of experience and I’ve been stagnant, so it’s tough.”

McCrory says the administration looked at smaller across-the-board teacher pay increases. But they determined that a larger boost for new teachers would have more impact on hiring and retention. He says the raises are only the first step in a long-term plan to improve academic performance. The governor says more changes are planned in the coming months for teacher pay, school testing programs and educational technology.