As the state budget is finalized, some critics say they’re skeptical of how the teacher pay raises will pan out.
Under the budget deal, public school teachers will get an average seven percent raise. On the surface, many teachers say that sounds great, but some are worried about what it'll mean for more experienced teachers.
Currently, teachers with more than 10 years of experience receive lump-sum bonuses, which will be eliminated under the new salary plan.
“It's misleading to say that everyone's getting an average seven percent raise, when they're taking away their longevity pay and wrapping it into everyone's salary,” says Mark Jewell, vice president of the North Carolina Association of Educators. “We were hoping for a long-term, sustainable plan over the next five years.”
Jewell says it's not fair that lawmakers are using the longevity money to help inflate raises.
But under the new plan, every teacher will make more than they did before, especially those with five to 11 years of experience. Some could see up to an 18 percent increase.
Veteran teachers on the other hand, those with 30 or more years of experience, will see relatively small increases. A teacher with 29 years, for example, would only get a .29% increase. Their salary would go from $49,857 to $50,000.
In contrast, a teacher who's been teaching for 15 years and receives longevity pay would receive $40,542. Under the new salary schedule, the teacher will receive $43,500, which is a 7.3% increase.
Some critics also point out that cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other school employees will only get a $500 pay raise, while other state employees will get a $1000.
Republican lawmakers haven't released all of the details of the new state budget plan, but they've assured critics that their adjustments will be fiscally responsible and reward teachers.
“The budget will…protect teacher assistant positions, protect classroom funding and continue to give superintendents broad flexibility to tailor classroom spending to needs," Senate Leader Phil Berger said.