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In case you missed it over the weekend, the Greensboro News & Record published an excellent editorial entitled “Keep our teachers.”

“It takes two hours to drive from Greensboro to Salem, Va.

How many Guilford County teachers made that trip Friday or were on their way this morning?

‘I’m hearing an awful lot,’ Liz Foster said Wednesday. She’s president of the Guilford County Association of Educators, and she’s worried about the state of her profession in North Carolina.

On the other side of the Virginia line, this is a time of opportunity. A consortium of 20 public school systems ran ads in small North Carolina newspapers touting a teacher recruitment fair at the Salem Civic Center Friday and today. For teachers interested in relocating, it said, a state education official would be there to provide licensing information.

Why would this be inviting to North Carolina teachers? For one thing, on average, teachers in Virginia are paid $4,000 a year more. In fact, teachers in almost every other state are paid more. It’s disgraceful how poorly North Carolina educators are paid.

But that’s not the only reason teachers are unhappy with their circumstances here….

Read the rest of the editorial by clicking here.

Pat McCrory 4“The floggings will continue until morale improves” — that appears to be the new motto for the state’s conservative political leaders when it comes to its approach to public education. If you think that’s an exaggeration, check out this story by Travis Fain from the Greensboro News & Record.  As Fain reports:

“Top state officials are kicking around a plan to pay young teachers ‘significantly more money’ than they make now, according to state Sen. Jerry Tillman, who co-chairs a pair of key education committees in the N.C. Senate.

Jerry TillmanSuch a proposal would overhaul the state’s existing pay scale for teachers, jacking up salaries for teachers in their first five years instead putting so much emphasis on longevity, as the current scale does.

Tillman, in town Tuesday night for a political roundtable, said he discussed the plan last week with Gov. Pat McCrory.

‘He’s serious about it,’ said Tillman, R-Randolph.”

To which, all a body can say in response is: Say what? Do these guys not pay any attention at all? Read More

Dan ForestApparently sensing the political vulnerability of Gov. McCrory, North Carolina’s ambitious Lt. Governor, Dan Forest engaged in a little gratuitous headline grabbing last week by making the rather stunning/bizarre statement that he wanted North Carolina’s public school teachers to be the highest paid in the country and that there is “plenty of money in government” to effect such a change without raising taxes.

Yesterday, in response, veteran Raleigh journalist Scott Mooneyham of The Insider provided Forest with a crash course in Public Finance 101:

“Let’s dig down into the nitty-gritty of what it would take to make North Carolina public school teachers the highest-paid in the country. Read More

There’s more scrutiny today over high pay that some members of state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos’ executive team are receiving, with this News & wosmugshotObserver article about a lucrative contract a well-connected adviser to Wos landed.

As the N&O’s Lynn Bonner reported, adviser Joe Hauck has received $228,000 for eight months of work, as part of a personal services contract he had to advise Wos. That works out to $28,500 a month.

Hauck is a senior adviser to Wos, and is on a leave of absence from New Breed, Inc., a High Point-based logistics company run by Wos’ husband, Louis DeJoy.

His contract is capped at a total pay of $310,000 and is set to expire at the end of the November.

From Bonner’s story:

Hauck came to DHHS from New Breed Logistics, where Wos’ husband is CEO. Hauck is vice president of marketing and communications, and is on leave from the company. Wos was a campaign fundraiser for Gov. Pat McCrory, and New Breed employees were prime contributors. Hauck gave $6,500 to McCrory’s campaign in 2011 and 2012.

[DHHS communications director] Diaz said in an email that Hauck “is an accomplished leader with 35 years of executive management experience across the entire spectrum of business operations and communications disciplines. He provides solid business insight with the ability to ascertain and analyze organizational requirements, forecast goals, streamline operations, and execute new program concepts.”

Diaz wrote that Hauck came up with a plan to save $5 million “without reductions in services rendered,” but did not specify the plan or the services.

Kim Genardo, McCrory’s spokeswoman, said Hauck “provides a helluva lot of good service.”

In an email, Genardo said no one in McCrory’s office approved the contract. “DHHS followed all policy and procedure as it relates to Joe Hauck’s personal service contract,” she wrote.

“Everyone was well aware” that Hauck worked at New Breed Logistics, Genardo added. She described the relationship as “very transparent.”

You can read the entire News & Observer article here.

Diaz, who was quoted in the N&O article,   is one of the two 24-year-olds hired by Wos to serve in senior-level DHHS positions at salaries of $85,000 and $87,500. Both Diaz and Wos’ chief policy adviser Matt McKillip received $20,000-plus raises in April, after McCrory had issued a directive to state agency leaders to freeze salaries of state employees.