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NC teachers say new pay raises don't add up

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NCAE Vice President Mark Jewell says claims of an average seven percent raise for teachers are not true. NCAE Vice President Mark Jewell says claims of an average seven percent raise for teachers are not true.
RALEIGH, N.C. - Some North Carolina teachers are accusing state lawmakers of spreading misinformation about the pay raises included in this year's amended state budget.

The North Carolina Association of Educators said lawmakers, specifically Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, have artificially inflated the size of the pay raise given to teachers.

In unveiling the compromised budget last month, Berger called it "the largest pay raise in state history."

The plan, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, gives public school teachers a 7-percent raise on average, Berger said. But NCAE Vice President Mark Jewell said Monday he believes that the 7-percent claim is false.

"They're claiming that the increase is something that we've already earned," Jewell said.

In the former 25-step salary schedule, teachers would receive an annual lump sum, called longevity pay, in addition to their salaries. The money was based on their years of experience. The new salary schedule folds those lump sum payments into base salaries.

A new salary scale, provided to WNCN by Berger's office, shows raise percentages based on longevity pay being included.  Berger's office says that longevity money was taken into account before calculating the size of the new raises.

Under the old plan, a teacher with 20 years of experience would have made a base salary of $42,260, or $43,633 when longevity pay is added in. Under the new six-step system, which provides raises every five years, that same teacher will see their pay increase to $46,500 this next school year, entering year 21.

Some teachers at the top end of the scale will see close to no raises, while others could see upwards of 20-percent increases.
Berger fired back at claims teachers were losing their longevity pay saying in a statement released on Monday, "It's unfortunate that instead of celebrating this historic advancement, the NCAE and others are spreading false rumors in an effort to mislead the public and our educators."

But Jewell contests, "You can't call that an increase when we've already earned it and it's part of the salary schedule pay."

"That is completely misinformation that they are putting out."


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Derick Waller

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