RALEIGH – Teacher pay has often been a hot button issue in North Carolina over the past several years. Democrats have used it as campaign fodder, Roy Cooper focused his campaign for governor on the issue, and the General Assembly has been host to multiple protests demanding a ‘living wage’ for teachers.
And while the Left in North Carolina has been smearing Republicans as greedy S.O.B.’s for not giving teachers more cash, those same Republicans have been responsible for repeatedly raising teacher salaries.
Now those salaries, on average, exceed $50,000 for the first time.
“Recently released figures from the state Department of Public Instruction put the average salary for a North Carolina public school teacher at $51,214 this school year. That’s $1,245 more than the previous school year.
The $50,000 benchmark has been a major symbolic milestone, with Republican candidates having campaigned in 2016 about how that figure had already been reached. Democrats argued that the $50,000 mark hadn’t been reached yet and that Republicans hadn’t done enough, especially for highly experienced teachers.
The average teacher salary has risen 12 percent over the past five years, from $45,737 a year. Since taking control of the state legislature in 2011, Republicans raised the starting base salary for new teachers to $35,000 and gave raises to other teachers.”
Five years would go back to 2013 – the year that Republicans controlled the governor’s mansion, N.C. House, and N.C. Senate. Democrats will, of course, cry that the figure is still behind the national average and that they would have done even more to raise teacher salaries, but they would leave out a lot of important context.
These teacher raises were accomplished in conjunction with multiple cuts to corporate and personal income taxes, multiple revenue surpluses, multiple infusions to a record ‘rainy-day fund,’ and multiple first place finishes for the State in economic and business rankings.
Democrats whined that tax cuts were going to sink tax revenues, that savings reserves deprived teachers of much needed pay increases, and that Republican spending priorities were ‘mean.’ They clamored for a ‘livable wage’ for educators.
I don’t know about you, but $51,000+ with paid summer vacations seems quite ‘livable.’
“The recent pay increases helped improve the state’s ranking on average teacher pay to 35th in the nation in last year’s NEA report. The state had fallen to 45th in 2011 after the recession froze pay increases.
The state can’t take complete credit for teachers eclipsing the $50,000 mark, because many school districts supplement the state base salary. This year, the average local supplement was $4,337.
Teacher raises are likely to again be a hot issue this year with control of the General Assembly at stake in the fall elections. Republican lawmakers say their goal is to raise average teacher salaries to $55,000 a year by 2020.”
Notice that the News & Observer leaves out the fact that North Carolina teacher pay fell to 45th under the leadership of Democrats. Once Republicans gained control, North Carolina began climbing those rankings.
Also notice that they point out Republicans (the “state) can’t take credit for these good numbers, because school districts themselves often supplement salaries. This point was completely glossed over by Leftist media when they were trying to spin a narrative that Republicans were standing in the way of teacher pay increases.
If this is indeed going to remain a hot button issue, Republicans on Jones Street can take comfort in the fact that they have done more raise teacher salaries than their Democratic predecessors, while also lowering tax burdens, and bringing fiscal sanity back to biennial budgets.
Read more here.