The State of North Carolina pays its public school teachers the same rate, based on experience. A certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience in Charlotte makes the same (roughly $45,000 a year) as an equally qualified teacher in Lumberton, in the state’s eyes.
Except, they don’t. Thanks to supplements — additional salary provided by county governments. They’re what bump that Charlotte teacher’s pay to roughly $52,000 a year and keep the Lumberton teacher around $48,000 a year.
In an effort to retain and recruit better teachers, Harnett County’s commissioners approved an additional $2.2 million to fund supplements in June. The vote went into effect on Saturday.
That additional $2.2 million will bump Harnett’s average teacher supplement by $1,500 for the 2017-18 school year. Before the vote, Harnett teachers averaged $3,267 annually in supplements. The bump will put Harnett teachers on par with teachers in Chatham County, and according to the most recent state data, will surpass supplements offered in Lee, Moore and Cumberland Counties.
Public school teacher supplements (average) by county
- Wake: 9,957 teachers |average supplement: $8,485
- Chatham: 596 teachers|average supplement: $4,780
- STATE: Average supplement: $4,194
- Lee: 745 teachers|average supplement: $3,902
- Moore: 827 teachers|average supplement: $3,557
- Harnett: 1,461 teachers | average supplement: $3,267*
- Cumberland: 3,027 teachers|average supplement: $3,523
* – Does not include $1,500 bump for 2017-18 school year
Numbers provided by North Carolina Public Schools
“We are committed to retaining the fine teachers we have in our schools,” said Harnett County Commissioners Chairman Gordon Springle. “We believe this supplement increase demonstrates that we value quality teachers and the critical role they play in educating our children and preparing them to be future leaders in Harnett County.”
The additional supplement will be paid to teachers who were working for Harnett County Schools as of Sept. 1, 2016, and will be paid when the school system issues regular supplement payments.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Harnett County’s average supplement. The corrected figure does not include the $1,500 bump, because not all teachers received that increase. A statement from the school district today reads:
“HCS is very grateful for the work our County Commissioners and Board of Education members have done to continue increasing the supplement for teachers in our district. The increase of $1,500, however, would not be given to every teacher because new teachers will not receive it yet. Teachers had to be employed last school year (16-17) to receive the supplement this year.”
Many positions went unfilled for portions and in some cases the entire school year. It will be interesting to see if this puts a dent into this major problem. I suspect it will be muted by the constant efforts by the General Assembly to discourage teaching as a career choice. ( loss of due process, longevity pay, master’s pay, frozen or near frozen salaries for veteran teachers, an end to health insurance for retirees, frozen or near frozen Cost of Living increases for retirees)