GREENSBORO, NC -- 37 steps. It could take a while, but you know what you're in for.
North Carolina used to have a 37-step pay plan for teachers.They knew what they were in for and when their salary would bump up and by how much.
But the $21 billion budget signed Thursday condenses the teacher pay plan to just six steps. Percentage raises are given in years five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 and a flat $1,000 bonus at year 30.
This is how the base salary shakes out:
Zero to four years -- $33,000
Five to nine years -- $36,000
Ten to Fourteen years -- $40,000
Fifteen to Nineteen years -- $43,500
Twenty to Twenty-four years -- $46,500
Twenty-five years or more -- $50,000
This plan is really beneficial for teachers at the five and ten year mark. And it's designed that way to compete with other states. Last year a 5-year teacher made $30,800. This year the salary is $36,500. Teachers at the 10-year mark last year made $35,800. This year the salary jumps to $40,000.
But the rub comes with teachers who are at step or year 30 and above. They used to get a longevity pay increase, in addition to whatever raise was voted on. Now, longevity pay no longer exists and they will get a flat $1,000 bonus.
I talked with the Capitol bureau chief of our news partner WRAL about this issue. She's seen and heard the up close discussions from lawmakers, the teacher's union. Laura Leslie says GOP lawmakers were surprised teachers weren't more happy with this. And the union, well, she says this is how they feel about the raises:"They felt like it was a bait and switch and teachers were being duped for the money they were owed for longevity and call it a raise. It's not accurate and it's not fair."
Something else teachers didn't think was fair was the misconception that all teachers were getting a 7% raise. The fine print says is it's an average of 7%.
But this is really a question of how you crunch the numbers. The republicans in House and Senate were calling this a 7% raise, the governor was calling it a 5% raise, and teachers were saying it really depends on who you are.
There are even more nuances and numbers to know. Our news partners with theAsheville Citizen Times breaks down the numbers even more.