RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Governor Roy Cooper is proposing a double digit pay raise for teachers in his budget proposal. Under the plan teachers and principals would get an average raise of 18 percent over two years.
It would also bring the minimum starting salary for teachers up to $46,000. The current starting salary for teachers is $37,000. Cooper said it will help fill 5,000 teacher vacancies across the state.
Margie Riedel is a second grade teacher in Johnston County and said teacher salaries need to be raised by at least as much as the proposal.
She also works as a real estate broker at HomeTowne Realty. While Riedel loves both jobs, she said sometimes it’s tough to juggle both and that there are days where she works 14 hours between the two.
“I love teaching, I absolutely love teaching and I want to stay in the classroom and there came a point about seven years ago where it was very difficult for my family to have me continue to teach,” Riedel said.
She was going to pick either real estate or teaching after a year, but decided to stick with both.
The state salary for a teacher like her with 20 years of experience is $52,000 a year. She said that does not cut it.
“They do not appreciate their teachers, they definitely do not appreciate their veteran teachers,” Riedel said.
Districts can supplement the salary and pay teachers more.
Jennifer Arndt is a seventh grade social studies teacher in Wake County and works three jobs. She spends at least four to five hours a week bartending at Cary VFW and works as an art instructor at Cary Arts Center as needed.
Sometimes she’s able to bring in war memorabilia from those at the VFW to her class as a way for them to engage with the topics. She’s also able to bring home extra money, and said without it she’d stress if there was an emergency.
“I would be on a much thinner budget, I can make ends meet, but it means I would have to cut back on a lot of expenses or luxuries,” Arndt said.
Republican legislative leaders have called Cooper’s budget proposal “reckless” and “unrealistic.”