Last week, a local news station in Wilmington reported that a teacher of the year candidate quit his job because he could not support a family with his and his wife’s teaching salaries.
Richie Brown and his wife, Kristina, are both teachers in Brunswick County. The couple were hoping to have another child and realized they couldn’t do it with the income from their teaching jobs.
Brown told WWAY-TV, “I was about to be a seventh-year teacher, and I would be paid the same as I was as a second-year teacher.”
“When you get into education,” said Brown, “you know you’re not going to become a millionaire. I wasn’t getting into this because of the money, but you still expect to be compensated fairly.”
It’s not the first time I’ve heard about two teacher households struggling to get by in North Carolina.
At this month’s meeting of the State Board of Education, teacher of the year Darcy Grimes told fellow board members that she had received a shocking letter from a couple who are both teachers in the state.
Grimes said that the couple had recently been denied a mortgage for a modest home because the bank was concerned about two aspects of their mortgage application: the effective decline in their income over the past five years thanks to stagnant salaries, and the fact that teachers will now be employed on a contractual basis in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s teachers have received only one pay increase of 1.2 percent during the past seven years, while seeing their health care premiums rise.
The state legislature jettisoned teacher tenure last month in favor of 1, 2, or 4 year contracts, which are likely to be renewable depending on students’ outcomes.