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NC teachers get pay bump; local school leaders say others are deserving, too

FILE - Side view of a Haywood County Schools bus (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)
FILE - Side view of a Haywood County Schools bus (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)
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North Carolina teachers and principals will see more in their paychecks soon.

Gov. Roy Cooper just signed a bill stepping up their salaries. Some local school leaders say they are more than deserving, but they're also disappointed because many school employees won't see a raise.

“The amount of time teachers put in, they really deserve this pay raise,” says Alex Masciarelli, the principal at Junaluska Elementary School.

Masciarelli is proud of teachers and glad for the passage of Senate Bill 818.

“Thankful for the General Assembly and the governor to come together and to work and pass legislation,” he says.

“A thousand a year or so in most instances,” explains Haywood County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte.

The bill shows the monthly teacher salary schedule ranging from $3,500 to start, to $5,200 at year 25.

“We think they deserve some money, maybe more than is in the bill,” says Nolte.

Nolte says there's no pay hike past year 25, and he says it takes 30 years to reach retirement.

He says teachers work hard and took on even more when the pandemic hit.

“You saw that from March until today," Nolte says. "They really got after it with remote learning."

Even without the ongoing pandemic, Nolte says teachers deserve this increase. The bill also provides more for principals.

“I’m going to have two kids in college next year so every little bit helps,” Masciarelli says.

But both are disappointed that half the school district's employees are left out, many jobs they call essential during the pandemic.

“Delivering food, preparing meals, keeping our buildings clean and safe, it would have been nice for them to be thought of as well,” says Masciarelli

Governor Cooper signed the bill into law effective July 1, saying the step increases were promised. But Cooper says, “It falls outrageously short on raises we need to give teachers and all school personnel like bus drivers and cafeteria workers. The Legislature must make educator pay a top priority when they come back in September.”

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