SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Classes are canceled in school districts across the state on Wednesday because so many teachers requested the day off. Instead of going to school that day, thousands of teachers plan to attend a rally in Raleigh to protest their pay and working conditions. But with an average teacher salary of $51,214 in North Carolina, some have questioned the outrage over teacher pay.
On average, teachers make more than most other North Carolinians. According to US Census data, the median household income in North Carolina is $48,256. Broken down per capita, income falls to $26,779.
But some local teachers are saying their paychecks don't reflect the state average. The beginning salary for first year teachers in North Carolina is $35,000.
The average base pay for teachers in Brunswick County is $43,324. Brunswick County pays teachers an annual supplement of $2,600 - $4,000, depending on their years of service and level of training, bumping the average teacher pay in that county closer to $46,000. In Brunswick County, only 202 of the county's 831 teachers make the state average of $51,214 or more.
In New Hanover County, the average teacher salary $49,032. That includes an 8% salary supplement funded by New Hanover County, in addition to the salary funded by the state. NHCS did not share with WECT the total number of teachers they employ, or the number of those teachers making above the state average.
In Bladen County, the average teacher salary is $48,052, including a 4% supplement paid by the county. 81 of the roughly 300 teachers in the county make above the state salary average of $51,124.
Teachers in Pender County are paid $47,732 a year on average. That includes a 6% supplement that is paid by the county. Pender County Schools employs 661 teachers. Of those, 287 make the state average of $51,124 or more.
Columbus County employs 398 public school teachers. Of those, 151 make the state teacher average salary or more. Overall, the average teacher salary in Columbus County Schools is $47,927, including a 5% supplement funded by the county.
Teachers in Whiteville City Schools make $48,677 on average. Of the 152 certified teachers there, 55 make more than the state average.
The numbers above do not include benefits paid to the teachers.
In other parts of the state, like Wake County, teachers make above the state average. According to published reports, Wake County's average teacher salary is $54,046.
While still below the 2016-2017 national average teacher salary of $58,064 (according to the National Center for Education Statistics), teacher pay in in North Carolina has gone up over $6,000 in the last 4 years, with another 8% raise now being considered by lawmakers in Raleigh.
Source: NC Department of Public Instruction