Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Something for veteran teachers: Longevity pay

Experienced teachers in North Carolina are understandably worried about being left out of the push to increase salaries.

The plan proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory and other GOP leaders provides raises only for teachers in the first 10 years of their career.  Long term,  many talk about the need to shift the pay scale toward higher early-career pay,  potentially at the expense of teachers at the top of the experience scale.  (See one such plan,  outlined by Duke University economics professor Jacob Vigdor, in a 2008 EdWeek article that's still getting attention in Raleigh.)

Veteran teachers note that they, too, have been hit by five years of pay freezes and rising costs.

Once teachers hit 10 years of N.C. service,  they do get one boost that I hadn't known about until recently:  State longevity pay.  Starting at 10 years,  state employees get an annual payment of 1.5 percent of their base salary.  That rises to 2.25 percent at 15 years,  3.25 percent at 20 and 4.5 percent at 25 years,  according to a presentation to the state's teacher compensation task force.

For a teacher with 10 years experience who is making the state minimum of $35,800, the 1.5 percent payment would bring $537. For a teacher at the top of the CMS pay scale  --  36 years' experience, being paid for a master's degree and National Board Certification and getting the Mecklenburg supplement  --  4.5 percent of $77,697 comes to almost $3,500.

Both state and county money go toward these payments. For instance, a teacher making $40,000 in state base pay and a $5,000 county supplement would get the appropriate percentage of $45,000,  says Lanier McRee of the state's fiscal research division:  "The State funds the portion of longevity due on the $40,000 and the locals pay the portion earned on the $5,000."

This is nothing new,  and it applies to all state employees,  not just teachers.  It's just a perk that those of us in the private sector tend not to be familiar with.  And it's a reminder that with teacher compensation,  as with so much in education,  nothing is simple.

And if you want to hear more about what the coming weeks might bring for teachers,  come hear the discussion at the Observer/PNC Bank forum May 5,  titled  "Teaching in North Carolina:  Low pay,  high stakes."  Click here to reserve a seat and suggest questions for the panel.


Anonymous said...

The problem is the cut off. So if you have been teaching 11 or 12 yrsor so you get hit as hard as someone who makes twice as much and has taught 20 yrs. This is unfair in itself.

McCrory needs to layer this pay situation to include raises for up to 15-20 yrs tapering down on a percentage scale. You dont just cut off at 10 yrs and penalize teachers in that manner even if we are talking peanuts.

How wonderful the ignorant unmindful Observer just boasted on its front page about some overgrown adult, playing a kids game, NFLer getting a 1.7 million bonus up front who already makes 15 million a year to play 16 games 3 hrs on Sundays for 4 months out of the year.

Meanwhile they are sucking 150 million out of your pockets to remodel Richardson BOA stadium with escalators (how sweet) and Jordan wants 50 million for upgrade to a 500 million new NBA area?

Is this insanity or what? Somebody has their priorities way out of whack to say the least not to current mention NBA troubles causing Obama to comment and defend adults playing a kids game who average 20 million a year? What is wrong with this picture?
Meanwhile teachers starve who teach Americans kids?

Why has the POTUS given ZERO $$ to public teachers from that 10 trillion he spent over and above in his first term with nothing to show?

How many trillions have been wasted on absolute frivolousness while school teachers starve to death and struggle to pay the ever rising prices caused by pro sports due to tv cable contracts and advertisements?

And then teachers do nothing but catch pure hell from the media?

If you want to defend something then defend teachers who make nothing and cant even pay their bills.

Why defend these sickening outrageously over paid mega millionaires who own homes all over the planet and 200,000 sports cars with Rolex and diamond studded ear piercings flaunting their excesses while the adoring media hypes this spoiled rotten pampered brats? What a joke.

Like they say, always judge actions not shallow words. And they wonder why America is dead last and getting more behind?

Unknown said...


___43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (43 quintillion, 252 quadrillion, 3 trillion, 274 billion, 489 million, 856 thousand) possible solutions for the cube, but there is only one correct one!


___Five years (157,680,000 SECONDS)


___5.55 Seconds





Next World Champion at Rubik’s Cube will be a NC students who had plenty of time to practice the solution in a teacherless classroom.

Bolyn McClung

highlandangel said...

Yes - State employees get longevity pay. And the Observer did it's math correctly, for a 20 year teacher, with National Certification and a Master's Degree. Except that our General Assembly no longer rewards either of those accomplishments anymore. So the longevity pay will not affect teachers reaching those long term levels - assuming anyone stays around that long.

Again there are the comparisons between the private sector and the public sector. Having been both a government employee and a private sector employee, I can assure you they are not the same. Let's take longevity pay - which is 1.5% at the first step. That's not even a cost of living increase. Teachers haven't had a raise in 5 years, and it takes 10 to get that much. 20 years brings 4.5%. We're not talking about a tremendous raise here. We are talking about a small percentage earned because they have managed to survive the ups and downs of local and state governments, and the crazy demands of teaching. We're talking about the possibility of going years without cost of living increases, much less raises. Teachers don't get to walk up to their "bosses" and just ask for a raise. They can't negotiate for a raise like in the private sector. Longevity pay isn't the carrot that this makes it out to be.

Anonymous said...

9:49 a.m., the state did eliminate the master's scale for those hired or earning the degree after this year. But people who have the master's pay keep it. And there's nothing approved or on the table (that I know of) to eliminate the NBCT raise.

Shamash said...

I think the solution to teacher pay is simple.

Especially now that we are adopting "national" standards.

Make teachers part of our "national defense".

Draft all teachers into the US military and give them the same benefits as soldiers.

Or, rather, officers, since they all have "degrees".

The military doesn't really care what your advanced degree is in, either, so an education degree would be just fine.


Just one more step towards a more "equitable" America.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about all this teacher pay talk. Why does the PE teacher at my son's elementary school make $62,000 a year? Why does our school have 3 curriculum specialists, all making over $58,000 a year? That's good money for 9 months of work, not sure the pay fits the job demands. Just saying.

FormerCMSteacher said...

Why does North Carolina have such a hard time holding up its end of the employment contract with its teachers? When the current teachers signed on to teach, they entered a salary schedule. It's more-or-less a promise from the state that you get a guaranteed salary with a small increase every year. It's not a lot of money, no teacher every thinks they will get rich, but it's something dependable. Like another commenter said, state employees (at least teachers) can't negotiate for raises. And contrary to the ignorance of many who comment on education issues, teachers in North Carolina do not have a union, thus no collective bargaining rights to ask for wage increases. Without even getting into the issues of increased workload, effective pay cuts in the form of increased employee contributions for benefits, and so forth, if the state signed people on and promised them one thing (a reliable salary schedule), they shouldn't be able to go back and take it away. If they want to implement a new salary plan, it should only be for new employees. Current employees should be entitled to continue on the salary schedule they agreed to when they began working.

Anonymous said...

Many of the curriculum specialists are principal gofers, administrative enforcers, and sometimes actually make sure that the curriculum is followed, no matter that many of the highly effective standout teachers can walk circles around the prescribed course of study or Common Core without a lesson plan out on the desk for CYA. The title is also used as an euphemism for designated torturer of teachers that need to be deleted deservedly or otherwise. This can be observations once a day for for a week, action plans, observations, more observation, and the ubiquitous subtle harassment techniques that even Vladimir Putin would be envious of. Finally , some of these curriculum specialists have been displaced by their previous schools or downtown for because they won't retire or were ineffective in the classroom, just like teachers and administrators. Maybe they're a benefit to the school as they were originally intended. Ask your child's teacher and see if they can provide a job description.

Anonymous said...

When I moved here I had 5 years experience form another state. I am in my 11th year of teaching. Longevity will not effect me for another 4 years. When I moved here I was single and the low pay really didn't bother me. Now that I have a family my values have changed. I never wanted to be rich, my car is 10 years old but it runs well. I don't have any money at the end of the month but most of the bills are paid. Sometimes its a juggling act. l have to borrow from the lawnmower to get gas for work. I work a couple side jobs that are blessings. In the summer I work 5-6 days a week cleaning pools. life could be worst. What bothers me is the constant feeling of being in limbo. The uncertainty and worry. Do I stay? Will things get better? Many of my peers are leaving. What if one of my children want dance or music lessons? What if one of them needs braces? I hope the car keeps running well? Will I ever pay my loans back? How do I plan for the future? Should I sell my house? It's starting to feel like a dead end job. Is this a dead end job? What if one of my children get sick, is 70/30 enough? How could I pay the 30? How can I stay here and plan a future for my family? I have a degree in Special Education. What else can I do? Trust in god.

Shamash said...

highland angel said

"Again there are the comparisons between the private sector and the public sector. Having been both a government employee and a private sector employee, I can assure you they are not the same."

Actually, today's government employees, in general, get a pretty good deal.

It used to be a sacrifice of pay for security and stability two generations ago when I was growing up, but today many government employees also get paid more and have better benefits.

Teachers haven't necessarily participated in that, but, still, government employees don't have it so bad today by a long shot.

And, to top it off, a lot of government jobs pay more for "advanced degrees" no matter WHAT you get them in.

So, if you have been itching for that Doctor of Divinity and want higher pay for getting it, being a "Reverend" on the government payroll may be just the ticket.


Either do that or accept your fate on the so-called "open" market with an education degree:


Surely, none of this is a surprise to anyone by now.

Anonymous said...

I never really thought of it that way. NC should honor there agreement. 3/4 teachers are from out of state. If you where told you would be paid a certain rate, you should. If the state wants to change the pay plan, make it for new teacher's. If they except the job, they except what they are getting into.

Anonymous said...

15 years to make 40,000 is awful. North Carolina is a joke. How can SC figure it out? Don't they have cheaper taxes? What is Raleigh doing?

Anonymous said...

Not in NC... Unless you work for Mcory or Tillis.

Anonymous said...

Conservative teachers and independent teachers need to get out and vote against Tillis. Send him packing!!

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that longevity pay is no longer an option for teachers ... when I was hired in 2004, we were told the state had eliminated that benefit.
Teachers already receiving longevity were grandfathered in, but newer teachers would no longer have that benefit.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina is showing the rest of the U.S. how to wreck public education. Gov. Pat and the rest of his stuffed shirts should be ashamed as well as the Democrats in Washington, D.C.

CMS SciTeacher said...

Just as many lawyers do pro bono work, so do teachers. Tutoring before and after school, helping with clubs, chaperoning dances, and the list goes on. One of our teachers was spending three to four hours per night at school for a couple months to get our yearbook together in time. She might get paid $5 an hour for that, though, as an honorarium. The way I see it, teachers have always been taken advantage of, mostly because so many of us share that “make the world a better place” mentality. Now, all of this garbage with testing being linked to teacher effectiveness, being lied to in terms of wages, and people bashing on teachers for not having to work in the summer, etc., etc. has sort of soured me a bit. It makes me, if not forces me, to not be able to spend more time with your children. Less pro bono work, if you prefer. If teachers did not do all the extra things that are not in the job description, school would not work outside of school hours.

Food for thought.

Wiley Coyote said...

Sure, get out and vote against Tillis and McCrory and bring back Democrats who raided the education lottery TWICE and froze salaries to begin with.

The decline in teacher salaries and benefits is not unique to North Carolina or any one political party.

~ The average salary for public school teachers in 2011–12 was $56,643 in current dollars (i.e., dollars that are not adjusted for inflation). In constant (i.e., inflation-adjusted) dollars, the average salary was about 1 percent higher in 2011–12 than in 1990–91.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Digest of Education Statistics, 2012 (NCES 2014-015), Introduction and Chapter 2 .

From the NEA:

Some states actually saw teacher salaries relative to inflation decline by 5 percent of more. Those states include Pennsylvania (-8.9 percent); Indiana (-7.1 percent); Michigan (-6.8 percent), New Jersey (-5.6 percent); Connecticut (-5.3 percent); and South Dakota (-5.2 percent).

Chablis said...

CMS SciTeacher, the many teachers that I know who are tutoring children after school are making great money.

Shamash said...

"The way I see it, teachers have always been taken advantage of, mostly because so many of us share that “make the world a better place” mentality. "

Well, that DOES seem to come with the territory in THIS list of degrees for the typical "do-gooder":


Yep. If you choose "social work" as a career, don't expect much.

However, that hasn't stopped many preachers from becoming multi-millionaires.

I still think there is money out there if you really want it.

Someone mentioned tutors who actually get paid for their efforts as an example.

And, then, there are always those OTHER government jobs with the feds, which never seem to be in short supply:


These jobs are particularly lucrative for those with less education (or less "practical" degrees).

Anonymous said...

I didn't say put Democrats in Willy.. I said vote against Tillis and Mcory. I like Harris and the LT governor. I want NC conservative's. Really your independent.

Wiley Coyote said...


I am an independent which is why I posted what I did showing both sides of the argument, that people from both parties have damaged education in NC.

You can vote for whomever you want.

If Tillis gets elected to Congress he will be gone anyway.

I plan on voting for Tillis as opposed to Obama's Kool Aid drinking robot.

Daddy daycare said...

Good news, more science backing up the effort for later high school start times. Dr. Phyllis Zee, Neuroscientist from the Northwestern Univ. Sleep Science Institute confirms that later high school start times are more beneficial for high school students. Dr. Zee has spoken out in favor of later school start times. The more health professionals who help raise awareness, the more hope we have of ensuring healthy school hours.

Anonymous said...

and Tillis is not a conservative thinking robot, he will vote(they practially all do that). While I seldom agree wth your opinions, you are exactly right with regards to teacher pay in this state. Both parties share blame on this, the dems had their chances to do something and they failed to address it during the Easley administration and Purdue did nothing during her first 2 years. I think the GOP made a huge mistake with the steps they took. The GOP failed to seize an opportunity, instead they blew it, which I found dissapointing.

Anonymous said...

Harris is a better man

Anonymous said...

That's because Mcory and Tillis are out of touch with NC.. Tillis is a Maryland boy and Mcory is a puppet. NC conservatives always worked with teachers. Our kids education was a state goal. Instead of attacking teacher, why didn't they go after Common Core? Why does Mcory have some guy from Florida running NC education? Mcory's lost his way and Tillis is in it for him. Tillis got into politics to have a tax payer mt. bike park built in his suburb. Come on NC, we can do better then them.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are required to stay after school and tutor.. No extra pay..

Anonymous said...

To Daddydaycare, US Schools Arne Duncan is recognizing school leaders who lead the way to later school start times. This will happen as most school districts are realizing it is the right thing to do for students.

Anonymous said...

6:19, Just to clarify for the readers - middle and high school teachers are required to stay one day after or before school (for an hour) to provide tutoring in their subject matter. I am talking about all of the teachers that are tutoring at homes and libraries and YMCAs after school and making $35-$50 an hour. There are hundreds of them doing this in CMS. Great money.

Anonymous said...

I'm not required to stay after school and tutor at my school.

Anonymous said...

I clean pools all summer for 10 bucks an hour ...

Bobby Padgett said...

Ann Doss Helms @ 9:53. You are correct that the state still pays for NBPTS certification. The difference is the state used to fund the fee for teachers to get their boards. Then it changed to a loan program where the state loaned you the fee. In the current budget even that was eliminated which will lead to fewer teachers being able to pursue this on a frozen salary.

My sources in Raleigh say that the Legislature wanted to eliminate master's pay and NBPTS pay together but didn't have the cojones to do it. I'm betting the axe will fall in 2015 when the Teabaggers hold their gerrymandered supermajority.

As for me I'm four credits short of a master's I'll never get paid for, yet paying the student loans with a frozen salary.

Anonymous said...

The people making theses changes are not tea party. The tea party believes schools should be local. The people making these changes are party line neoconservatives. Jeb Bush, Carol Rove, Tillis. Tea Party conservatives are not big fans of neoconservatives because they are bought and paid for by large corporations. They are loyal to their wallets, not the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps those salaries should be adjusted and given to those(k-6) teachers who have been educating for 10 years making the same salary year after year.