Apparently it takes a lot more money to hire advisers for our leaders in Raleigh than to recruit teachers for the children of North Carolina.
My eyes were drawn to an AP story in the morning's Observer about two 24-year-olds who worked in Pat McCrory's campaign for governor and are now making salaries of $85,000 or more in advisory posts with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
I had just finished talking with a 25-year-old Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher who's bright and energetic enough to help Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark with some of her research. He's making about $37,400 a year -- but only because CMS provides a supplement with county money. The state scale would put him at $30,800.
The state's teacher pay scale starts at $30,800 and tops out at about $65,520, for a teacher with a master's degree, National Board certification and at least 35 years of experience. That made me curious: How do advisers to the people who approve that scale compare?
The state government salary database lists 60 employees of the governor's office. On a quick scan, I counted 22 making more than any teacher can. Eric Guckian, a member of the Charlotte education scene who was recently hired as McCrory's education adviser, came in at $120,000. Three of the six administrative assistants earn more than $50,000, a level teachers crack at 32 years on the bachelor's degree scale.
Only one member of the governor's staff makes less than a starting teacher. Gregory Anthony Steele is listed as press secretary at $28,000. He's listed as a 21-year-old hired in June, which makes me suspect it's a summer job.
What about the legislative staff? I came up dry. Turns out the General Assembly has its own payroll system, which we don't have online.
I've sent a request to our data guy. I think people might want to know.