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NC Board of Education approves raises for teachers working toward master's

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The state Board of Education meets to discuss pay raises for teachers working toward a master's degree. (Bianca Spinosa, WNCN) The state Board of Education meets to discuss pay raises for teachers working toward a master's degree. (Bianca Spinosa, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina Board of Education passed a motion Thursday granting teachers who are currently working toward a master's degree a salary increase.

On Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory met with the State Board of Education and announced the state would give those teachers currently working toward a master's a raise once they earn their advanced degree.

The Board approved the motion Thursday, qualifying that students who finish their degree this semester must be on a school payroll by May 1 to be eligible for the pay increase.

The Board said it wants the General Assembly to revisit the issue so that students who graduate in August and December receive the increase as well.

McCrory said his budget office found about $10 million to provide more than 3,000 eligible teachers with a salary increase.

"I also signed an executive order to create the Governor's Teacher Advisory Council, which will give a voice to a diverse group of teachers from across the state," McCrory said Wednesday.

Kevin Hill, a Wake County teacher and member of the Wake County School Board, made the point that obtaining a master's degree in teaching from an institution like N.C. State costs around $10,000.

"It takes about three years of that pay differential to be at that break-even point," Hill said.

The issue has been hotly debated in recent weeks, as teacher pay increases for those with master's degrees was cut from the state budget.

McCrory had not been pushing hard for this in recent weeks. He told WNCN's Penn Holderness in an interview in August, "Now I hope that we can re-instate the master's pay, but not make pay increases dependent upon whether or not you've got a master's degree. That doesn't always determine that you're a better teacher.

"I think it should be a combination of what your education is and how you perform in the classroom."

But state support for education overall, and teachers in particular, has been a hot topic since the legislative session. McCrory's original budget called for a 1 percent pay increase for teachers.

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