In efforts to help recruit and keep teachers, the Wake County school board on Tuesday approved pay raises targeted at the most experienced educators, as well as taking steps to provide more job security for younger teachers.
Using $3.75 million provided last year by the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the school board approved a plan containing the biggest raises, as much as $1,000, for Wake’s most senior teachers. The board opted not to spread the amount evenly among all 10,500 teachers, focusing instead on hard-to-find special-education teachers and veteran educators, who got a smaller raise than beginning teachers from the state last year.
“I’m celebrating the fact that we are able to give our teachers any increase,” school board member Bill Fletcher said.
Individual teachers’ raises, depending on experience, will range from $16 to $100 per month, pre-tax.
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The pay raises go to all employees covered by the teacher salary schedule, including instructional resource teachers and media specialists. The board opted not to include staff such as speech pathologists and guidance counselors because their pay is already based on a higher salary scale. Their inclusion would have reduced the amount of other raises.
Restoring some rights
Also on Tuesday, the board gave preliminary approval to a policy that would provide locally many of the due-process rights that state legislators removed from teachers as part of efforts to eliminate tenure.
Changes made in state law in 2013 prevent any additional teachers from earning career status, also called tenure. But Wake’s new policy says teachers with at least five years’ experience, but no current tenure eligibility, could only be fired for one of 15 specific reasons.
Those teachers would also receive written reasons for their firing and could request a hearing before the school board.
A final vote on the policy is expected Feb. 17.
“This is protection for teachers who are doing their job,” said school board vice chairman Tom Benton.
NCSU reclaims name
In other action Tuesday:
• The board voted to drop N.C. State University from the name of a Raleigh high school.
The Wake N.C. State STEM Early College High School has operated on the university’s campus since 2011. But N.C. State officials told the district in December that they can’t allow the university’s name to be used because the high school is not under its authority.
• The board voted to drop the names of the four small schools that make up East Wake High School’s campus in Wendell.
The renaming of the campus as East Wake High marks what school officials call the beginning of the school’s redesign. Leaders have concluded that the small-school concept used since 2005 hasn’t been successful and will develop a new design to go into effect in the 2016-17 school year.