The $22.2 billion budget proposal adopted last week by the NC Senate offers generous raises to public school teachers that average 6.5%.1
The move is part of an effort to raise average teacher salaries to $54,000 over two years, and K-12 teachers – many of them graduates of our state’s public universities – deserve those raises.
But so do all the people who teach our children.
The Senate budget proposal cuts taxes faster and rewards state workers – including community college and university faculty – less than the House’s proposal.
The Senate would offer state workers merit-based raises that average 1%, plus merit-based bonuses that would also average 1%.2 The House, by contrast, offered raises of 2%, plus a $500 bonus3 – and even that’s not enough.
University faculty have gone seven years with just one raise from the legislature, and 11 of our 16 public universities in North Carolina now fall below the median for average faculty salaries compared with their peer institutions. Instructors at UNC Chapel Hill and NC State would need raises of roughly 6% just to reach the 50th percentile.
Stagnant salaries have already taken their toll. From 2012-14, of 419 faculty members across the system who received outside offers, 76% accepted those offers.4 This poaching comes as faculty at our public universities are attracting $1.35 billion in research dollars.5
Faculty in North Carolina community colleges lag as well; the average faculty salary of $47,400 ranks 11th among 16 Southeastern states.6
If we want the best and brightest to teach our children, we need to pay them enough to attract and keep them here.
The Senate budget also would include:
- $31 million to provide for 3,125 additional students in the University system next year.7
- Part of SB873, which would reduce tuition at UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina University to $1,000 a year for in-state students. After a backlash from alumni who said the loss of tuition revenue could severely damage the institutions, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State and Winston-Salem State universities were removed from the low-tuition proposal last week. The proposal still provides for 100 new merit scholarships at NC A&T State and NC Central universities.8
- $5 million to partially offset $16.4 million in state support campuses will lose because of a $1 million cap on use of state dollars for fundraising that takes effect this year.
- $3 million for the UNC School of Medicine to establish an Asheville campus in conjunction with the Mountain Area Health Education Center.9
- A delay until 2017-18 of NCGAP, an initiative where universities would be required to direct their least-qualified students to complete a degree at a community college before enrolling.10
- A requirement that every university school of education establish a “lab school” to conduct research and demonstrate new teaching methods designed to improve the success of students in high-needs schools.11
- $42 million for renovations and repairs to state buildings – half of it for state universities, which account for roughly half of state buildings.12
The House and Senate will now try to resolve differences between their proposals in a joint conference committee. While many of the proposals in the Senate budget are positive, we hope legislators find a better way to reward the folks who teach our kids at every level.
1 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/Senate_Committee_Report_2016-06-01.pdf, p. F4.
3 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/House_Committee_Report_2016-05-18.pdf, pp. F14, F20.
4 UNC General Administration, Faculty Retention Efforts, July 2012-June 2014.
5 https://www.northcarolina.edu/sites/default/files/unc_report_on_organizational_effectiveness_-_general_administration_of_the_unc_system_-_march_28_2016.pdf, Executive Summary.
7 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/Senate_Committee_Report_2016-06-01.pdf, p. F19.
8 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/H1030-PCS30509-MDxf-21.pdf, pp. 44-48.
Apodaca Amendment 6-2-2016: http://ncleg.net/Applications/BillLookUp/LoadBillDocument.aspx?SessionCode=2015&DocNum=7674&SeqNum=0
9 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/Senate_Committee_Report_2016-06-01.pdf, p. F19.
10 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/H1030-PCS30509-MDxf-21.pdf, pp. 43-44.
11 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/H1030-PCS30509-MDxf-21.pdf, pp. 48-59.
12 http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Budget/2016/H1030-PCS30509-MDxf-21.pdf, p. 163.