Over the past few months I, along with my senate colleagues, have worked towards reforming education in our state. I have worked for changes; North Carolina needs to be competitive with other states in entry level teacher pay. Today, Governor McCrory, the Senate President Pro Tempore, Phil Berger, and the Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, announced a collective plan to increase entry level teacher pay to the national average. What I like most about this plan is that the funding for this will come from additional and available revenues and will not require a tax increase. In short, this increase is made possible by the responsible cuts in spending and the balancing of the North Carolina budget from the past few years.
There’s no greater investment we can make than in preparing our children for the future. And there’s no question that high-quality teachers lead to better student achievement. That’s why we are committed to recruiting and retaining the best and brightest teachers to educate our students. But historically, North Carolina’s starting teacher pay has not been competitive. For more than a decade – and long before Republicans led the state – starting teacher salaries have placed near the bottom of southeastern rankings.
Together with the governor, lieutenant governor and House, we are announcing a unified solution to this problem. Over the next two years, we will raise entry-level pay from its current level of $30,800 to $35,000 – making North Carolina a regional leader while bringing us close to the national average in starting teacher pay. This plan will increase starting salaries by $2,200 this year to bring them to $33,000 and by an additional $2,000 the following year to bring them to $35,000. This is more than a 13 percent raise for our beginning teachers over the next two years.
This increase makes North Carolina a regional leader and a nationally competitive state that will help us attract the very best talent to our schools and brand our state as a teaching destination, not a layover. This is only the first step of a shared commitment by Republican leaders to improve teacher and state employee salaries.