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House Budget Proposes Relinking Principal Base Pay To Teachers’ Salary Schedule Per NCASA’s Request

Katherine Joyce for NCASA 

As of this In the Know publication, the N.C. House is scheduled to give approval to its 2019-2021 biennial spending plan in two floor votes later this evening and sometime Friday. The House budget, with special provisions contained in House Bill 966 and its accompanying money report, proposes spending $23.9 billion in 2019-2020, a 3 percent increase from the current fiscal year’s total budget.

As reflected below and announced in a Tuesday press conference by the House Speaker and budget chairs, a major focus of the spending plan is a pay increase package for educators that would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

A key highlight of the budget proposal is relinking the principal salary schedule to the teachers’ schedule, which is one of NCASA’s major priorities for this year. That change, if ultimately approved in the final budget, would reinstate a years-of-experience factor in principal base pay, which the House proposes to reflect a 25% differential over where each principal would fall on the teacher “A” schedule. This is important for principals ongoing because they would receive pay increases each time teacher pay is raised, thereby maintaining the differential and career ladder linkage as needed.

More information on this pay proposal and other key House budget highlights follow. 

Compensation and Benefit Highlights:

  • Principals – Revamps the principal salary schedule as noted above by using school ADM and placement on the teacher “A” salary schedule + 25% as parameters in determining base pay. Principals still would be eligible for higher salaries for meeting or exceeding growth as well as potential performance-based bonuses. The bonuses are reworked under this proposal to ensure that principals in the Top 50% of growth who move their school performance grade from D or F to a C or higher get their bonus doubled, unlike in 2018-19 when those high achievers were precluded from that double bonus if their school moved out of low-performing status. The revised principal salary schedule under this House plan also includes two new ADM tiers in base pay – 1,301-1,600 and 1,601+ – to reflect larger schools than under current law. Includes hold-harmless provisions ensuring no principal’s base pay dips below 2016-17 (prior to implementation of the current salary structure) or 2018-19 base pay, if either would have been higher. The House proposes investing $16 million in recurring funding on this principal pay package, including funding noted below for Assistant Principals, in 2019-20 and $32 million recurring in 2020-21, when the pay increases will be in effect for a full year. The annualized average State-funded salary base for principals is projected to grow by approximately 10%, or $7,500.
  • Assistant Principals – Increases assistant principals’ base pay to 20% higher than where they would fall in years of experience on the teacher salary schedule (was previously “A”+19%), effective January 1, 2020. Also eliminates, effective January 1, 2020, advanced and doctoral degree supplements for assistant principals who had been receiving that supplement after principals lost it in 2017-18. Provides a hold-harmless provision to ensure no assistant principal’s pay dips below either 2016-17 or 2018-19 levels. The estimated annualized average State-funded salary increase for assistant principals who are employed in FY 2018-19 and remain employed in FY 2019-20 is 6.3%, or $3,700. The annualized average State-funded salary base for assistant principals will grow by approximately 4.9%, or $3,100.
  • Teachers and Instructional Support – Appropriates $118.5 million in FY 2019-20 and $228 million in FY 2020-21 to increase teacher and instructional support compensation. Specifically, the House budget:
  • Increases the base teacher salary schedule for teachers with 16 or more years of experience by $500 to $8,500 annually, effective January 1, 2020 and sets the new top of the 30-step schedule at $60,500 annually in State-funded base pay. All other teachers would be eligible only for their step increases of $1,000 that would take effect July 1.
  • Reinstates graduate degree salary supplements for teachers, mainly assisting those with 10 years or less of experience who have not been grandfathered in to receive master’s supplement after they were eliminated in 2013.
  • Ties school counselor pay to the pay scale provided to psychologists, speech pathologists, and audiologists, effective January 1, 2020.
  • Provides funding for recruitment bonuses to be provided as a state match up to $1,000 for school districts that are classified as small county and doubles the match up to $2,000 if the LEA is also low-wealth.

The estimated annualized average State-funded salary increase for teachers and instructional support personnel who are employed in FY 2018-19 and remain employed on January 1, 2020 is 4.8%, or $2,300, and individual increases range from 1% to 16.3% (individual base salary increases range from $500 to $8,500). The average State-funded salary base for teachers and instructional support is projected to grow by approximately 3.1%, or $1,600. The estimated annualized average teacher pay in FY 2019-20, including local supplements and bonuses, is approximately $55,600, however, due to the January 1st effective date, the actual FY 2019-20 average is estimated at approximately $54,800.

  • Central Office and Non-Certified School Personnel – Provides a raise of 1% or $500, whichever is higher, for central office personnel and non-certified school personnel.
  • Bonus Leave – Provides 5 bonus Leave days for full-time state end community college employees; public school personnel are excluded from this benefit. NCASA is seeking an amendment to make this applicable to school personnel and hopes to see that approved before the budget is finalized tomorrow by the House.
  • Retiree COLA – Provides a one-time 1% cost-of-living supplement for retirees of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System to be paid between July 1 and Nov. 1 of 2020.
  • Retirement Contribution – Sets 19.66% as the employer contribution rate for retirement, effective July 1, 2019, and moves it to 21.81% on July 1, 2020.
  • Medical Benefits – Sets $6,262 as the monthly premium employers will pay for state and school personnel who are not Medicare eligible; that rate increases to $6,690 on July 1, 2020.

Public School Funding Highlights:

Please see this funding chart from DPI that details proposed expansion spending and compares the State Board of Education and Governor’s proposed budgets with the House budget.


Highlights of Special Provisions Affecting Public Schools and Related Programs or Services:

  • Education Funding Evaluation – Calls for the State Board of Education (SBE) to issue a request for proposals by Sept. 15, 2019, and then select by Dec. 15, 2019 an independent research organization to evaluate the state’s public school funding system and propose alternative systems, including a review and recommendations on a weighted student funding model. The final report to the SBE from this study would be required by Dec. 31, 2020, and then shared with the legislature.
  • Advanced Teaching Roles – Codifies this program to enable additional LEAs to develop new models of job responsibility and compensation for participating teachers.
  • Definition of Public Schools – Creates a definition of a public school as a local school administrative unit, a charter school, a regional school, or a school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by the State Board of Education (SBE) or the University of North Carolina. Also requires an annual census of school resource officers by the Center for Safer Schools, with a report based on the census to be submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee (JLEOC) and SBE by March 1.
  • Sufficient Staffing – Prohibits LEAs from changing their adopted school calendar except as needed to address severe weather, energy shortage, utility failure, public health or school safety crisis, school building or transportation emergency, or an act of God. Would allow teacher personal leave days to be transferred between LEAs and would allow teacher personal leave days to be granted only if requested at least five days in advance and availability of a substitute is confirmed. Would be effective with the 2019-20 year.
  • Economics and Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement – Requires a full credit course on economics and personal financial literacy as a graduation requirement, effective with students entering ninth grade in 2020-2021; also requires professional development of teachers teaching this course.
  • Upstart Virtual Early Learning Pilot Program – Establishes this virtual pre-kindergarten initiative as a three-year pilot, requiring the SBE to contract with an experienced third-party organization as provider, select up to 10 LEAs to participate, offer the program to at-risk 4-year-olds on or before August 31 of the program year, and report annually to the JLEOC by Nov. 30.
  • Reading Diagnostic Assessments – Requires the SBE to approve at least three, rather than the current one, Read to Achieve assessment instruments for use by LEAs, effective with the 2019-20 year.
  • Instructional Materials Selection (from House Bill 315) – Defines unfit instructional materials as “(i) obscene, (ii) inappropriate to the age, maturity, or grade level of the students, or (iii) not aligned with the standard course of study. Requires LEAs to evaluate and adopt instructional and supplemental materials/textbooks (previously done by the state) and maintain an instructional materials repository. Allows parents to withhold their consent to students’ participation in health and safety programs.
  • School Performance Grades – Extends indefinitely the 15-point scale for calculating school performance grades, which otherwise would change to a 10-point scale effective July 1, 2019 and changes the weighting of the grade components to reflect 51% achievement and 49% growth, effective with the 2019-20 year.
  • Program Enhancement Teachers/Arts Education Graduation Requirement – Revamps the Program Enhancement Teacher (PET) allotment to cover art, music, PE world language, and dual language immersion teachers in Grades K-12 (covering roughly 11,000 teachers statewide), rather than only K-5 as currently limited. Changes the PET funding ratio (now 1:191 in K-5) to 1:140 in K-12. Adjusts the funding phase-in for the revamped PET allotment to reflect 17% of full funding in 2019-20, 26% in 2020-21, and 34% in 2021-22 and subsequent years. Directs the SBE to set student-to-teacher ratios for class sizes in Grades 4-12 and then shift funding from the Classroom Teacher allotment – based on those ratios – into the PET allotment to cover the remainder of funds needed for all K-12 program enhancement teachers. Requires the SBE to modify state graduation requirements to include one required credit in arts education to be completed by each student at any time in grades 6 through 12, effective with students entering sixth grade in 2022.
  • LEA Fees – Requires LEAs to publish a schedule of fees, charges, and solicitations approved by the LEA on their website by October 15 of each school year, rather than reporting that information to the State Superintendent as now required.
  • Cooperative Innovative High Schools – Limits SBE approval to up to four cooperative innovative high school applications that request additional funds in a year, and priority may be given to LEAs that currently do not have a cooperative innovative high school.
  • Classroom Supplies Program – Uses $15 million in non-recurring funds in both 2019-20 and 2020-21 to establish the Teacher-Directed Classroom Supplies Allotment, separate and apart from the current $47 million Instructional Supplies Allotment managed by LEAs. The new allotment would provide $145 to each eligible classroom teacher by Aug. 31 each year, after the electronic platform (provided by Class Wallet that now administers the Personal Education Savings Plans for the State Education Assistance Authority) is first made available no later than Jan. 15, 2020. The funds would be used by teachers to purchase classroom supplies. Also requires DPI to develop categories of expenditures through this new allotment that can be compared with expenditures by LEAs on instructional supplies, with a report from the State Superintendent to the JLEOC by May 15, 2020.

Upon final approval of the House budget, it will be sent to the Senate, which is expected to release its own spending plan and special provisions within the next two or three weeks. If the Senate plan differs from the House plan as expected, both chambers will appoint budget conferees who will begin negotiating the differences in hopes of reaching a compromise and final budget package by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. NCASA will continue to work with leaders in both the House and Senate for approval of a final budget that best meets the needs of K-12 public education in North Carolina, and we will provide updates on Twitter via @NCASAtweets, at and through our weekly In the Know newsletter.

Katherine Joyce