Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, told teachers in her district last week that she would fight to get all teachers pay raises, not just for 25 percent of teachers in the state, who must accept 4-year contracts in exchange for tenure, or only for beginning teachers as Gov. Pat McCrory has proposed.
From the Carteret County News-Times:
The Appropriations Act of 2013 is designed to phase out teacher tenure by 2018. As a first step, the law requires school boards in 2014 to give $500 pay raises and four-year contracts to 25 percent of their eligible teachers. In exchange, teachers who accept the raises and contracts agree to give up tenure. Principals evaluate teachers and decide which ones qualify for raises, with the school board giving final approval.
“This is not a good way to ask a principal to evaluate you for raises when you all work in teams. That is a bad plan,” she said. “If we want to stop tenure, then just stop tenure. Don’t keep it hanging out there like a carrot for raises.”
Ms. McElraft said she also disapproves of a proposal by Gov. Pat McCrory to give raises to new teachers instead of all teachers.
She said she planned to ask that money set aside for the 25 percent and new teacher raises be used instead to give all teachers a pay raise.
“As far as I’m concerned all of you should get raises. Was I happy with all that went into the education budget this year? Absolutely not. But in order to get the budget passed, sometimes you have to approve things you don’t agree with.”
Ms. McElraft said when Gov. McCrory and legislators took office, they inherited a $3.5 billion state budget deficit. Plus, the state is facing an astronomical cost for Medicaid, which has hurt the economy even more. She said half of the state’s population is now on Medicaid.
Many teachers who attended the meeting at Bogue Sound Elementary fought back tears as they explained to McElraft how difficult it is to be a teacher in North Carolina.
For teachers such as fourth grade teacher Jason Vanzant, not getting a pay raise in several years has caused him to get a second job on the weekends.
“I work two jobs and have since 2007,” said Mr. Vanzant, choking back tears. “I work 15 hours a day here, then eight hours on Saturday and several hours on Sundays. I’m cleaning bathrooms and it’s actually demeaning. But you do what you have to do to teach in this county. It doesn’t give me much time for my family. I guess what I’m trying to say is ‘help.’ ”
While McElraft supports pay raises for all teachers, she did say she opposes career status, also known as teacher tenure, which is set to be completely eliminated in North Carolina by 2018. Career status offers teachers a hearing by a third party in the event they are demoted or dismissed.
Members of the N.C. Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force will meet today at 2:00 p.m. to discuss ways to create an alternative compensation system for educators.