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Senate Bill Proposes Principal Pay Plan Improvements

Legislation filed Wednesday on the opening day of the legislative session addresses several recommendations from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and proposes some structural improvements to the current principal pay plan that was adopted by lawmakers in 2017 and implemented in the 2017-2018 school year.
Senate Bill 718, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) and Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln), proposes the following changes to the principal pay plan:
• Sets any pay increases that result from a change in the school growth score – which determines if the principal is paid at the base, met growth or exceeds growth level of the pay scale – to occur in January after official school growth scores come out by November, rather than requiring ongoing retroactive pay adjustments, either up or down, each year for many principals across the state.
• Extends the hold harmless salary protections through the 2019 calendar year to ensure veteran principals won’t take a pay cut.
• Creates a new three-year hold harmless protection to make it more feasible for high-performing principals to move into low-performing schools, where they can make a difference, without taking a pay cut to do so.
• Clarifies that any decrease in pay under the state principal schedule is not a demotion that triggers appeals and other due process requirements for local school boards.
• Combines the current two principal bonus programs into one that will reward all whose schools score in the top 50 percent in growth and doubles the bonus for principals in the top 50% if they are leading a D or F school. This addresses the glitch in the current pay plan that leaves out principals at low-performing schools that made great progress in their first year there.
The bill, which has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee, does not address funding for a principal pay increase in 2018-2019. That issue is being discussed as part of the state budget process that the House and Senate are now navigating. The policy changes proposed in this bill, however, could be included in the state budget along with funding for a principal pay increase, which is NCASA’s top objective for legislative action this session. The bill also could move as stand-alone legislation.
NCASA will continue to advocate for approval of these changes and improvement in base pay for all principals and will provide additional updates as developments occur.