GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Teacher pay continues to be a hot-button issue across the state, and now the Pitt County Board of Commissioners is taking it on.
In budget talks starting Tuesday morning, Pitt County Schools is asking the board for $39.5 million for the coming school year. That’s $3 million more than the school system was allotted this year. Of that, nearly $1 million is allocated to boost teacher pay.
The state is responsible for a majority of a teacher’s salary, but each county can add something extra in the form of supplemental pay. Lawmakers in the General Assembly are currently considering the governor’s plan to increase teacher salary by an average of 5%. Now the county wants to increase teacher’s supplemental pay. The proposal would bump new teachers from 2% to 5%, and boost the rest from 5% to 5.5%.
Chief Financial Officer Debra Baggett says this increase is necessary to bring the best teachers to the East.
“Supplements are real big in recruiting and retaining our teachers. We’re competing with other counties, so that would be a plus for Pitt County Schools. And the County Commissioners have always been real supportive of us so we know that they’ll do what’s necessary,” Baggett said.
The state average for teacher supplements is $2,391, yet Pitt County comes in at $1,884.
The National Education Association released a report last week showing North Carolina still lags in teacher pay, ranked 41st in the country. However, the report also shows our state had the largest one-year pay increase of any state over the last year: 6.3%.
In its budget request presentation, Pitt County Schools is also asking for nearly $500,000 to replace old computers.
The Pitt County Board of Commissioners meets for budget workshops Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the Pitt County Government Office. Pitt County Schools and Pitt Community College will present budgets Tuesday. The Sheriff’s Office/Detention Center, Emergency Management, and Animal Services will present budgets Thursday. The Departments of Public Health, Social Services, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau will present budgets Friday.