The sad truth about NC teacher salaries

If you’ve heard a lot of back and forth about what North Carolina pays public school teachers, but felt as if you could never get the numbers straight in your head, click below to view them in all their Ebenezer Scroogeian/Art Popeian glory:

Fiscal Year 2013-2014 North Carolina Public School Salary Schedules.



  1. LayintheSmakDown

    September 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    You leave out a good point that does not support your cause. The local supplement is also a significant portion of the pay package. As and example Wake County as linked below has a supplement for a licensed teacher of about $5k.


    You also leave out that teaching is a 10 month job (not counting the 2-3 weeks at Christmas they get off too). I know math and logic is hard to come by here, but when you divide that $35,000 Wake County base by 10 and multiply by 12 you come up with the salary of $42,000 that you should compare to almost every other job in the real world. Now that pay rate is not looking too bad when you compare apples to apples rather than apples to kumqwats.

  2. LayintheSmakDown

    September 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Not to disappoint greggylou….you guys, but I left you guys out of that post.

  3. gregflynn

    September 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Wow Doug, 115 Local Education Agencies in NC and you just “randomly” hit Wake County that has the third largest supplement in the State, 1.8 times the state average. If you had thrown the dart and hit “Washington” instead of “Wake” the supplement would have been ZERO, just like it is for Clay County, Graham County, Halifax County, Weldon City, Madison County and Warren County.

  4. wncgirl

    September 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Or Macon or Swain or Jackson which once had 1or2% supplements before the recession and republican campaign of destruction… any number of school systems in rural areas have no supplement…. AND FYI… I see teachers working all summer at their schools, at the park, at ballgames… they actually do give a crap unlike the Pope Propagandists posting on this site.

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    September 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I chose it because it is the county I live in greggylou if you must know the truth. It is also likely the most central county to the readers of this blog as well since the political class is mostly in the triangle. Plus their data is readily available on the web.

    You can do your own calculations as you like for whatever county you reside in. But as one of the largest systems they have a larger share of the teacher (8% of teachers are in Wake) and student population, so it makes sense.

    Just forr funsies here is some other analysis:

    The average total supplement for all teachers is $2,191….and I actually got Wake wrong with an actual $6,318 (uh oh….we have a devastating….increase? a locality stepping up? heavens be!)supplement behind Chapel Hill and Meck. The top 15 in school systems have about 45% (44,726 out of 102,387) of total teachers and the average supplement for that population is $3,533. So you are still talking about $34,000 on average in most classrooms for a realitively new teacher….or almost a real world $41,000 salary. Again, you can pick nits but there was no data stream on years vs. supplement so I assume the new teacher gets average supplement as would the veteran…your mileage will vary.

    Sure you can cherry pick a few systems….why not look at Madison County or Warren, or Halifax where the local boards do not see fit to supplement the pay. That is a local decision you see, so their residents may need to step up and value their own teachers as they see fit.

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    September 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    And I forgot to add into that analysis the benefits that most in the private sector on 12 month jobs do not receive, or do not receive at anywhere near the level:

    Retirement: $6,035
    Hospitalization: $5,285

  7. gregflynn

    September 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    14 LEAs out of 115 have supplements higher than the state average. The other 101 LEAs pay supplements less than the state average. The average is skewed by the top LEAs. The median supplement is 62% of the average supplement. 20 LEAs had a supplement of less than $1000.

  8. LayintheSmakDown

    September 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Actaully, in 2013 it is 47 pay above the state average….and 59 below. With 69,480 of 100,040 teachers that receive a supplement. With 23 less than $1,000 and the median of teachers who recieve a supplement at around $3,000 (50,000 make more than that, 50,000 make less)…so you can say the median salary is $33,500 or just over $40,000 if you want to present based on the median (which actually. That is according to the NC county commissioner data for 2013.


  9. AshevilleWill

    September 30, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I appreciate the shrewd logic that you have applied to this discussion. I always appreciate when someone takes the time to look at a controversial topic logically without hyperbole by teasing out basic facts. However, your calculations are askew. In your first posting you take the base pay of $35,000 (which I assume you calculated based on a bachelor’s level new teacher plus the local supplement), divide by ten to get a monthly pay, and then multiply that by twelve to get a “real world” annual salary of $42,000. The problem with those calculations is that that is a projected income IF teachers were paid for working 12 full months. Unfortunately the reality of what a teacher takes home is simply $35,000 divided by 12 and multiplied by twelve which equals…well…umm….$35,000. I recognize that you were trying to create an equal comparison to take into account the time off in summers—but that doesn’t really matter when you are still only taking home $35,000. Projected salaries don’t pay the mortgage.

    Teachers do no ask for the summer off. This is embedded as part of our American tradition. In fact, I think that if most teachers were offered the opportunity to work for 12 months and pick up two more months of salary for extra teaching, mentoring, or lesson planning most would gladly jump at that chance to take home that imaginary $42,000.

    One could argue that the summer time offers a teacher time to work in other jobs to make extra money. However, there are precious few jobs where a teacher can find “summer work”. Most of the summer jobs that are available are designed for students not teachers (think lifeguard, bag boy, mall store clerk). Besides the fact that those summer positions are notoriously low paying do you really want to see your child’s teacher bagging groceries or giving fashion advice at The Gap?

    What you also fail to explain is that the figure of over $6000k that is contributed to the retirement system is no way a matching donation program. Teachers put in 6% of their own funds towards their retirement (that goes into their individual retirement account and draws interest. Each local school system contributes a percentage of the teacher’s salary that works out to around 6k for a new teacher. That is a mandatory contribution that is made to the retirement system by the employing school system—one that does NOT go into the teacher’s individual retirement account. It doesn’t earn interest and if one leaves the system before retirement money is left in the system.

    The benefit for health insurance for the individual employee is a great deal as it is free. However, if one adds a spouse and/or child the monthly premium can be far higher than a private provider (close to $700 for a family policy if dental and vision is included).

    So let’s do the real math for the many young, new teachers with a family who do not live in a county that has a local supplement. That salary is closer to 31k. If we subtract the mandatory 6% for retirement contribution ($1800) and the $7000 that they will pay in premiums for family medical, dental, and vision that leaves a base salary of $22,000. If said teacher can’t find a summer job at the mall because of a lack of jobs or the fact that they must provide childcare for their own children in the summer then this $22,000 must last over 12 month. That is a gross salary of $1,850 per month BEFORE taxes. By subtracting federal, state, and social security taxes then the take home pay is under $1500 a month. Seriously.

    We won’t even talk about the student loans needed to land this professional job. This is not hyperbole. It is reality

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