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Could NC teachers get extension on master’s degree pay?

Ann Doss Helms of the Charlotte Observer reports [1]that there’s a move afoot to allow teachers who are currently pursuing master’s degrees extra time to complete their degrees and receive the 10% boost to their pay that they were promised when they originally began their programs.

State Reps. Bill Brawley [2] and Ruth Samuelson [3], both members of the Republican majority, said Thursday they never meant to cut off additional pay for teachers who had already enrolled in graduate school.

“If you start a program based on a promise that was made, that promise has got to be kept,” Brawley said. “When I have made a mistake, I can own it.”

Samuelson said she and several other legislators agree and are trying to rally votes to revise the law in the 2014 session. The goal would be to announce that intention early so teachers could plan their course work accordingly.

The General Assembly voted this summer to do away with salary supplements for teachers with master’s degrees. The salary supplements provide, on average, a 10 percent pay increase–a boost that many educators rely heavily on given that teacher salaries rank 46th in the nation. Current master’s degree holders would not be subject to the new law.

Many teachers and lawmakers thought that if graduate degrees are completed in the spring of 2014, then those people would also be grandfathered in and receive supplemental pay for their degrees. But that turned out not to be the case [4].

Many teachers currently pursuing their master’s degrees are scrambling to try and finish their programs by December 2013, which would assure them the salary boost.

According to the Observer  [1]story [1], Brawley and Samuelson say they support a plan that gives teachers who were enrolled when the 2013-14 budget passed more time, perhaps two years, to finish their degree and qualify for the current pay scale.

Read the full article here [1].