Raising starting teachers’ pay a good step

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Gov. Pat McCrory and leaders of the N.C. General Assembly began the week with a welcome announcement about raising the starting pay of teachers in North Carolina.

Their plan to raise starting teachers’ salaries by $2,200 this year and by another $2,000 next year marks the strongest indication yet that the governor, N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis and N.C. Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger are committed to making teachers’ salaries more competitive with what is offered in other states.

As we noted in this space last week, the commonwealth of Virginia has begun placing Help Wanted ads in North Carolina newspapers, hoping to attract teachers from our state. The starting salary for teachers in Virginia is $4,000 more per year than what North Carolina pays now.

North Carolina educators praised the governor’s plan for as far as it went, but noted that a starting teacher’s salary will remain fixed for five years unless state leaders make other changes to the pay structure.

McCrory and legislative leaders also said Monday they will announce pay increases for more teachers and state emloyees “as the revenue outlook becomes clearer and available.”

The announcement Monday is a welcome first step, and McCrory said it will not require a tax increase. We look forward to hearing details of other pay increases for teachers in the near future.