RALEIGH: Commissioners vote to increase teacher pay supplements - WNCN: News, Weather

Wake Co. commissioners vote to increase teacher pay supplements

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The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to raise pay supplements for teachers. (Eileen Park, WNCN) The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to raise pay supplements for teachers. (Eileen Park, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to raise pay supplements for teachers, making the county stipend for teachers the highest in the state.

How much that supplement will be has not yet been determined. Wake County teachers currently receive about $6,200 in supplements, ranking the county second behind Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools when it comes to teacher supplements.

The vote Monday came as the Wake County school board and the board of commissioners have been at odds about raising the teacher pay supplement.

"The superintendent wanted a 3.5 percent pay increase across the board with all the school employees," said County Manager Jim Hartmann. "But because the state legislature is also taking up the matter, I felt it's a little premature in order to put something in my budget for that."

Hartmann's proposed $1.063 billion budget excluded the 3.5 percent increase previously approved by the Wake County school board.

Wake County superintendent Jim Merrill set aside $39 million in his budget for raises. But Hartmann put in only an extra $10 million in the county budget, saying he wanted to see what action the state legislature and governor take.

The state of North Carolina is looking to push up teacher pay, which has lagged in recent years. But individual school systems can decide to pay teacher more than the state salaries.

"We're already raising taxes 4.4 cents for the bond issue, which is probably about $120 or so per household, so it would be on top of that and I think it would be difficult on the local level, but we'll see," Commissioner Joe Bryan said of the possibility of the additional $29 million.

During a public hearing at Monday's meeting, parents, teachers and concerned citizens voiced their opinions on the matter, mostly in support of raising the teacher pay supplement.

"The people who are teaching -- to me -- have the most important job of anybody in America," said parent Stephanie Gootnick. "They need to be rewarded and inspired to be able to continue to go on with their dream and their passion so that our children and our future is ensured."

Monday morning, teachers and parents from North Garner Middle School rallied on the pay raise issue. They said if salaries are not increased soon, it may be too late for many qualified teachers.

"We want to let them know how strongly the public supports this. It's really essential that we staunch the exodus of our most highly qualified and experienced teachers to Houston and Pennsylvania and Virginia and South Carolina and Georgia," teacher Marcia Timmel said.

Merrill and Hartmann plan to meet in the next week to come up with a compromise. The board is expected to vote on the final budget mid-June.

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Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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