Education Bills to Get Behind

Two bills that would go a long way toward restoring the health of public education in NC and helping to repair our teacher pipeline are House Bill 1080 and House Bill 1079.

Starting in 2013, the NC General Assembly took several steps that eroded the professionalism and desirability of teaching in NC, including removing pay increases for advanced degrees, eliminating longevity pay, and curtailing salary advancement. HB1080 “Professionalizing the Education Workforce,” restores many of these and other provisions lost over the subsequent years.

HB1080 adjusts the NC base teaching salary schedule to include annual salary increases between years 15 and 25 where it is currently flat and continues annual increases to year 30 instead of stopping at 25. At year 30, the base salary reaches $6,565 per month (annual salary of $65,650.00).  Currently, the base salary reaches its highest point at 25 years and $52,680.00.

HB1080 also reinstates salary increases for earning a master’s degree (10% increase) and monthly increases for earning a six-year PhD degree. In addition, certified nurses gain a 10% salary increase and school counselors a monthly salary increase.

School psychologists, school speech pathologists, school audiologists, and school social workers who are licensed at the master’s degree level or higher also receive the advanced degree salary supplements. 

In 2017, a provision in the NC budget removed medical retirement benefits from NC teachers and UNC system workers who were hired on or after January 1, 2021. HB1080 restores this benefit to teachers and others.

HB1080 has additional salary details that combined, serve the essential step of bringing compensation for teachers and other instructional and supporting staff (e.g. school social workers) to a level that recognizes their professional commitment and expertise. 

Another important education bill introduced for the short session is HB1079 “Sound Basic Education for Every Child.” This comprehensive bill addresses shortcomings in the current budget to increase funding in areas deemed critical in the Comprehensive Remedial Plan (Leandro funding). A few example provisions include 

  • ensuring a well-prepared and supported teacher in every classroom and principal in every school.
  • increased funding for low wealth-counties, students with disabilities, English language learners, and instructional support personnel.
  • Adjusting the A-F grading system to focus more on growth measures
  • Expanding the NC Pre-K program (note, recent research on Head Start has shown intergenerational benefits of high-quality pre-k programs)

Both HB1079 and HB1080 passed the first reading in the House and have been referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House where they have been sitting for weeks. Contact committee members to encourage them to move these important bills along!

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