North Carolina's upcoming budget does not include any pay raises for teachers. This comes as the National Education Association ranks North Carolina as 46th in terms of teacher pay. In cases, pay is so low that some full-time teachers can qualify for Medicaid.
A multi-year pay freeze for state employees, including teachers, was part of an effort to bring North Carolina's budget under control during the recession. Five years ago, North Carolina actually ranked in the middle for teacher pay.
Currently, one out of every nine teachers earns the lowest annual salary of $30,800. They're eligible for their first built-in raise after five years, which bumps their salary to $31,220.
North Carolina's average teacher last year made nearly $10,000 less than the national average of $55,418.
Within the last five years, the state has lost more than 4,000 teachers with up to three years of experience. This is a trend that policy analysts like the Civitas Institute's Bob Luebke says needs to change.
"Right now, we have very limited incentives as far as young teachers," Luebke said. "That needs to be corrected because it's not good for morale. It doesn't help in the classroom."
The right-leaning Civitas Institute agrees with Governor Pat McCrory that merit-based pay will attract teams. Meanwhile, teacher groups strongly disagree.
However, some local school districts offer boosts in pay as an incentive to draw in new teachers. For instance, Wake County schools offer brand new teachers about $5,000 more than the state-required salary.