Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget doesn’t provide across-the-board pay raises for state employees – and some won’t receive any increase.
In keeping with a philosophy of “targeted” funding across state government, the only guaranteed raises will go to early career teachers, prison guards and state troopers.
But agencies would have the ability to pay more to attract and keep employees in some hard-to-fill positions, such as engineering, accounting and information technology. McCrory would provide $82 million for it across state government.
For the rank and file, the budget does keep “longevity pay” for state workers, close to 40,000 of them. Those bonuses, based on years of service, would range from 1.5 percent of employee pay for those with 10 to 15 years with the state to 4.5 percent for those with 25 years or more of service.
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As promised, McCrory’s spending plan also proposes to set a minimum salary for school teachers at $35,000 a year, up $2,000 a year from the current pay. That would require an extra $41.8 million to fund.
Other teachers could see raises. The budget provides new funding to pay for salary increases for teachers who move into a new tier on the state’s teacher salary schedule, which was adopted last year. The new schedule has put teachers into a tiered system that increases their pay every five years.
As a result, teachers with four years, nine years, 14 years, 19 years and 24 years of experience would get pay bumps as they move up a step. The size of those bumps varies. A teacher moving from the fourth-year tier to the fifth-year tier, for example, would receive a 10.6 percent increase to $36,500. A 19-year teacher would receive a 6.9 percent boost, to $50,000.
Following through on the “step” plan would cost about $64.9 million.
Teachers at the top of the salary scale, those making $50,000, would receive $1,000 bonuses, as they did last year.
McCrory wants raises for the state’s 10,000 corrections officers, with a new pay scale that would replace one updated in the 1980s. Budget Director Lee Roberts said he couldn’t provide an average pay increase figure for the correctional officers, saying it would depend in part on what prison they work in.
State Highway Patrol troopers would get a scheduled 5 percent step increase.
Roberts said the budget proposal reflects a belief that providing a uniform pay raise across state government doesn’t work.
“Across the board is probably not the most effective way of doing that,” Roberts said. “Targeting is better than across the board when it comes to trying to attract and retain effective employees.”