Under the Dome

Teacher pay raise announcement planned

Legislative leaders are planning next week to announce their plan to increase pay for beginning teachers, said state Rep. Tom Murry.

Low teacher pay has been one of the sources of discontent for teachers and a focus of national attention the last seven months. Legislators approved no raises for teachers or state employees this year, and they have received only one 1.2 percent increase in the last five years.

That has led several groups, including an advisory committee Gov, Pat McCrory appointed, to offer recommendations for teacher pay increases.

The announcement comes as the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday and Tuesday focuses on the state attracting and retaining “world-class teachers,” and how that is linked to economic competitiveness.

McCrory is scheduled to speak at the forum with former Gov. Jim Hunt.

McCrory and legislators have said in recent months that they want to approve salaries, but have not said how.

The plan is to raise pay for beginning teachers in multiple phases, said Murry, a Morrisville Republican.

“A lot of us are interested in attracting those young teachers who want to be teachers and getting those starting salaries competitive,” he said.

Asked if McCrory agreed with the plan, Murry said, “I think you’ll see a united front.”

The starting salary for teachers is $30,800 a year. The national average starting salary in 2012-13 was $36,141, according to the National Education Association. North Carolina’s beginning teacher salary is lower than surrounding states, and is near the bottom of national averages.

Overall, the average teacher salary in North Carolina of $45,947 ranked 46th in the nation in 2012, according to the NEA.