Online Originals: NC teachers say average salary doesn’t reflect what they’re seeing

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — State studies rank North Carolina teachers as being the second-highest paid in the Southeast, making $54,392.

In comparison, New York is the top state, averaging around $86,000 and Mississippi comes in last around $45,000. Local teachers say those numbers just aren’t accurate, and they aren’t seeing that money.

Public school teachers in North Carolina ranked 29th in the nation among other states when it comes to teacher pay. John Wilson, interim executive director of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said the state adds every penny they give to teachers and even includes thousand-dollar supplements to that average, supplements that most teachers never see.

When you look at North Carolina base salary funds, it was 48,501 last year. This year it’s 48,516, a 15 dollar change, or a 0% increase. But what they do it ask every little dime they give to teachers. The best we could be is third but not even that, because most other states don’t count all this other stuff. They are counting the actual salary.

John Wilson, NCAE

Other things driving the average up are the inclusion of salaries from school counselors and social workers who make more than teachers do. Wilson said if you were to take those factors out, North Carolina average teacher pay would be way down compared to the rest of the country.

Another reason is supplements. Teachers in higher-populated areas make supplements based on their municipalities. Wake and Mecklenburg, for example, get thousands in supplements each year. Where teachers in Martin and other counties surrounding Pitt County don’t get any supplements at all, they just make that base salary.

That’s taking a toll on teachers here in Eastern North Carolina. Many have had to get second jobs, moonlight on the weekends or get part-time jobs over the summer just to make ends meet. Many even go into their own pockets to provide supplies to students.

Teachers say they just want their pay to be reflective of the passion and dedication they have for their jobs and their students.

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