Senate GOP leader claims he has plan to raise N.C. teacher pay to tops in the southeast

Berger pre-KIt’s short on details for the moment, but state Senate President Phil Berger, a Republican from Rockingham County, is claiming today that the Senate GOP will be pushing a budget plan that would raise the state’s teacher pay ranking to first in the southeast.

A few details about the plan can be found at this site, although note that accessing the details will require you to enter your name, an email address and your zip code.

According to the site, the new average teacher pay would come in just under $55,000, and the new national ranking would be 24th. Of course, that ranking estimate is likely based on the assumption that no other states approve raises for teachers.

The most recent ranking from the nonpartisan National Education Association pegged North Carolina this year at about 41st in the nation. 

Berger’s office said the Senate proposal would also speed teachers’ path to the state’s $50,000 cap on annual teacher pay, reaching that threshold after about 15 years of experience. Currently, teachers take 25 years to reach that mark, although public school advocates have often bemoaned that lawmakers have not moved to lift that $50,000 cap higher.

Such a plan would likely come as something of a surprise to many public school advocates as the Senate, compared to the state House, has often skewed farther to the right on K-12. A budget plan approved last week in the House offers modest teacher raises depending on a teacher’s experience, although the average raise would be about 4 percent.

In announcing the plan Wednesday, Berger’s office also took the opportunity to fire a few shots at the “liberal” media.

From Berger’s post:

Democrats, teachers unions and liberal editorial boards have made teacher pay and school funding their political rallying cry since Republicans won control of the state House and Senate in 2010 – accusing the conservative majorities of starving public schools and short-changing educators. They often cite national union rankings that leave North Carolina in the low 40s in teacher pay.

But comparing even the current teacher salaries to the old plan Democrats left in the wake of a $2.5 billion budget deficit tells a different story. Over the past two years, legislative leaders and Governor McCrory partnered to pass a significant raise that lifted starting teacher pay from $30,000 to $35,000. The Senate plan announced Wednesday was an even more devastating blow to the liberal mindmeld – it could move North Carolina as many as 23 spots in the same teacher pay rankings.

We’re still awaiting more details on the Senate budget. We’ll keep you posted.

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