JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Teachers in Eastern North Carolina will soon be seeing a big difference in their paychecks. North Carolina lawmakers included a $100 million fund in the state budget to increase teacher pay in rural communities.
“We felt like that, you know, students and teachers both needed a little lift when it came to making sure every student in North Carolina receives, you know, sound quality education,” said NC Rep. Chris Humphrey.
When 9OYS spoke with Humphrey, he said North Carolina is a big state with a lot of rural communities. Along with pay increases, Humphrey said he hopes this will also help attract teachers to these smaller communities.
“This money kind of, just kind of levels the playing field, so to speak,” Humphrey said. “And, you know, hopefully, we’ll address some teacher shortfalls in certain areas and bring our teachers up to, you know, to where they need to be as far as their salary goods.”
Humphrey explained how they determined which counties were getting what funds.
“The first thing we looked at was definitely population, then you look at the average medium income, median income in those areas. And, of course, teacher pay is calculated in that formula,” said Humphrey.
Lawmakers made the new teacher supplement assistant fund recurring, meaning they will get that $100 million fund each year. They say it will ensure long-term support and certainty for teachers and counties.
“We’ll continue to work to keep up with the national averages. I think this is an important first step in being able to pass this budget this year was tremendous for all state employees, including teachers in North Carolina,” said Humphrey.