NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - There will be some new faces teaching children in New Hanover County Schools next year.
According to New Hanover County School officials, 40 teachers have already resigned or retired this year and that number is expected to rise even higher before the new school year begins.
This year's resignations were slightly higher than the previous year's and represented a little over 2% of the total teaching population.
Catherine Edmonds is a teacher at New Hanover High School and said she knows other teachers thinking about going to other places.
"I do think primarily it is the salary is the issue," Edmonds said. "The teachers that are leaving are leaving because there are better paying positions, or are leaving the state to teach in other states."
Edmonds said she isn't going anywhere, but understands why others are.
"It's not an easy thing, I have a second job," Edmonds explained.
After her long day at school, Edmonds goes home and teaches online classes for the North Carolina Virtual Public School.
"It's exhausting, but limited choices," Edmonds said. "I need to keep my children in college and have a roof over my head and a car and you have to do what you have to do."
According to the State Board of Education, North Carolina teachers with a Bachelor's degree will make just over $30,0000 for the first five years. In the sixth year they will get a raise of about $420. But not everyone has consistently received raises because of the state's multi-year pay freeze.
"You know going in this that it isn't a money making business that's not why you choose it," Edmonds commented about the teacher career. "You choose it because this is what your vocation is and this is what you want to do, but it still would be nice to compensate just a little bit every year."
Edmonds has been a teacher in New Hanover County since 1991 and said she is vested in the area, but she said if something isn't done, the county will continue to lose great teachers every year.
New Hanover County School officials said that the school Board has a local goal to raise teacher salaries by three percent using state and local funding; however, no final budget or salary decisions will be made until both the state and county budgets are approved.
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