Under the Dome

Atkinson: raise teacher pay 10 percent

State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson recommended a 10 percent pay raise for teacher Wednesday at a meeting of a special House committee.

Atkinson said a plan for teacher pay should be made of layers, with higher base pay as the foundation.

“I would want North Carolina to be extremely bold and to look toward a 10 percent increase for all of our teachers,” she said.

A 10 percent pay increase would cost $540 million.

The second layer would be $10,000 in additional pay for teachers who take on leadership roles. The third layer would pay for teams of teachers go to low-performing schools, and the fourth layer would go to schools exceeding growth.

The House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices is considering what increases to recommend for K-12 teachers and principals and community college instructors.

The committee is also considering options for differentiated pay for teachers, something legislators have talked about for years but never initiated.

Trip Stallings, director of policy research at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University, said at least 70 districts experimented with differential pay with Race to the Top money. Before the legislature establishes a new plan, it should look at what the districts have done.

“The past should guide the future,” he said.

The legislature should fund across the board salary increases and strategic-staffing differentiated pay pilot projects in different types of districts, Stallings said. After a few years, districts could choose what type of differentiated pay plan to adopt, he said.