The local salary supplement for Alamance-Burlington teachers fell from its previous ranking of 13th place to 22nd among the 116 North Carolina public school systems, based on the latest figures published by the state Department of Public of Instruction.
The rank in the average teacher supplement for ABSS fell nine spots in the one- year period, between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, school board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves said Wednesday in an interview with The Alamance News. She furnished the newspaper with local salary supplement rankings data for all N.C. public school systems, which she said had been presented during a July 24 discussion by the Hunt Institute, a think tank for which she is serving as an education policy fellow.
Figures published by DPI for the 2022-23 fiscal year, the latest period available, reveal that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro city school system took the No. 1 spot for teacher supplements in the state, offering an average supplement of $10,135 to the 899 teachers employed in that school system (see accompanying chart).
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By comparison, ABSS offered an average supplement of $5,864 to the 1,744 teachers who were employed with the local school system in 2022-23.
“Teacher supplements are important, in my opinion, because money matters, and we are within driving distance of six, potentially eight, school districts that are paying more in teacher supplements than ABSS,” Ellington-Graves said Wednesday morning in an interview with The Alamance News. “Money is not everything, but it is important, and if you can drive 20 or 40 minutes and get paid more, teachers are going to do that. You are going to have teachers who will consider that as an option.”
School board members had earmarked approximately $1.3 million in the county-funded portion of the budget for ABSS for the 2023-24 fiscal year in order to provide a 1 percent increase in the local supplement, which teachers receive on top of their state-funded salaries. That increase is not yet reflecting in DPI rankings, which only list the average supplements from the 2022-23 school year.
For the previous, 2022-23 fiscal year, the county-funded supplement for teachers ranged between 10.5 percent and 12.5 percent, depending upon years of consecutive experience with ABSS. ABSS also offers a supplement to assistant principals (between 12 and 14 percent); principals (14 to 17 percent); and central office administrators such as departmental directors and assistant superintendents (ranging between 7 and 16 percent), according to data from the school system’s human resources department.
The final price tag for local supplements fluctuates annually, based on the size of the raises teachers are awarded in the state’s biennial budget, which remains pending in the General Assembly.
Salaries for all N.C. public school employees are established annually, based on the state “salary schedules” and any raises that may be awarded as part of the annual state budget. In addition to locally-funded salary supplements, school employees are also eligible for additional compensation such as longevity and “extra-duty” pay; and teachers who are National Board Certified received are often paid higher salaries for their 10-month contracts.
“The six districts that are within driving range didn’t fall out of the top 13, but we did,” Ellington-Graves said in the interview. “It’s important to be mindful of what they are offering…we are below the state average. That’s the one piece we have flexibility with – compensation. I think it’s important for people to understand we’ve lost some of our competitiveness.
“We are hopeful that we can honor the 1 percent supplement increase [that the board committed to this spring] but we are still waiting on final state budget allotments,” the school board chairman added.
Statewide, the average teacher supplement increased by $930 from the average supplement of $5,123 in 2021-22 to $6,053 in 2022-23, according to DPI.
ABSS currently has approximately 90 teaching vacancies, Ellington-Graves told the newspaper Wednesday. Out of the current total of about 1,744 teaching positions, that translates to an approximate vacancy rate of 5 percent, she acknowledged in the interview.
By comparison, North Carolina state government currently has a 23.4 percent vacancy rate, according to a March 2023 report from the N.C. Office of State Human Resources.