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A new fiscal year begins July 1. What’s the state of the budget and teacher pay?

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The North Carolina House and Senate have both passed their individual updated budget proposals for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-25, but conflicting spending priorities between the chambers have resulted in the delay of a new compromise budget.

While the House budget includes additional raises for school employees during FY 2024-25, the Senate’s proposal does not.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill to confirm funding for school employee pay during the new fiscal year, including new bonuses for school principals.

Despite not having a new compromise budget, this bill will allow districts and schools to move forward with pay raises laid out in the 2023 budget. Pending the governor’s signature, these raises will become effective on July 1. Exactly when employees will see them in their paychecks may vary, but the raises will be retroactive to July 1.

Last week, House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, told reporters that while there are many “shared priorities” between the House and Senate, there are still “key differences.” Those differences include additional raises for teachers and state employees, the News & Observer reported.

If the General Assembly does not pass an updated budget this short session, the biennial budget enacted in 2023 will stand.

Here’s a look at what that means for pay for teachers and other school employees.

Teacher pay

The 2023 budget gave larger raises to beginning teachers, with raises decreasing with years of experience. Those base salary raises range from 3.6 to 10.8% over the biennium, or FY 2023-25.

The 2023 budget gave an average 7% raise to teachers over the biennium, with an average 3% raise in 2024-25.

The 2023 budget did not include anything about reinstating master’s pay, though it was included in the House proposal in 2023 and this short session.

Here is the salary schedule approved in the 2023 budget for FY 2024-25. Senate Bill 332, passed on Thursday, also includes this schedule.

Screenshot from 2023 budget.

The House’s proposal for FY 2024-25 would provide an average 4.4% raise for teachers during FY 2024-25, including the raise set in the 2023 budget. As mentioned above, the Senate proposal left teacher raises for the fiscal year at the rate they were set in the biennium budget.

You can read more about the specific pay schedules and supplements outlined for teachers in the 2023 budget in the article below. You can also compare the FY 2024-25 schedule above with the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) salary schedules for FY 2023-24.

Principal pay

The 2023 budget included an average 7% base pay raise over two years for school principals, calculated based on growth and Average Daily Membership (ADM). This included an average 4% raise last year, and a 3% raise in FY 2024-25.

Here is a look at the salary schedule for FY 2024-25, as approved in the biennium budget, and in SB 332.

Screenshot from 2023 budget.

You can view the monthly salary schedule for principals in FY 2023-24 on page 14 of this N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) document.

The ADM bands change each fiscal year and are based on first month ADM for each district from the previous fiscal year.

“Beginning in the 2024-2025 fiscal year, it is the intent of the General Assembly to include in the calculation of the average daily membership of a principal’s school the average daily membership of any prekindergarten students in membership at the school,” the budget says.

Regarding this provision, SB 332 says: “For the second six months of the applicable fiscal year, the average daily membership for the school for the applicable school year. For this time period only, the average daily membership of a principal’s school shall include any prekindergarten students in membership at that school.”

Pre-K ADM is not included in any other State Public School Fund (SPSF) allocations, per DPI.

Regarding growth, the 2023 budget allows for the higher score out of two prior years to determine principal pay. You can read more about how the score is calculated for principal pay on page 152 of the budget, or page 4 of SB 332.

The 2023 budget included a bonus for principals with qualifying growth scores in FY 2023-24, but not in FY 2024-25. The bill that passed the General Assembly this week adds bonuses for principals.

Here’s a look at those bonuses:

Screenshot from SB 332.

Pay for other school employees

Most other school employees, including non-certified personnel, received an across-the-board salary increase of 7% in the 2023 budget — 4% in FY 2023-24, and 3% in FY 2024-25.

Local boards of education govern the salary schedules of classified employees, who should receive the 3% raise. 

For school psychologists, as well as school speech pathologists and school audiologists licensed at the master’s degree level or higher, the first step of the salary schedule is equivalent to the sixth step of the teacher salary schedule: $4,481 in 2023-24, and $4,572 in FY 2024-25. In addition, these employees will receive a monthly salary supplement of 10% of their monthly salary, plus $350. You can read more at the bottom of page 142.

Assistant principals will also receive raises based on a pay schedule.

According to the 2023 budget, beginning July 1, 2023, “assistant principals shall receive a monthly salary based on the salary schedule for teachers who are classified as ‘A’ teachers plus 19%. An assistant principal shall be placed on the step on the salary schedule that reflects the total number of years of experience as a certified employee of the public schools.”

Assistant principals with certification at the six-year degree level will receive a salary supplement of $126 per month. At the doctoral degree level, the monthly supplement will be $253.

On page 6 of SB 332, you can view the pay raises for superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers in FY 2024-25.

Finally, the budget also funded a salary increase for state Superintendent Catherine Truitt — $14,512 in 2023-24 and $29,024 in 2024-25.

Hannah Vinueza McClellan

Hannah McClellan is EducationNC’s senior reporter and covers education news and policy, and faith.