Public school teachers would receive “a substantial investment” of a minimum 10% pay bump under a resolution passed March 2 by the North Carolina State Board of Education.

The resolution also encouraged “investments in beginning teacher pay,” with the ultimate goal “to keep North Carolina competitive with other southeastern states.”

The item was lumped in with other agenda items and passed unanimously by the state board.

Teachers received an average 4.2% raise in 2022-2023 under the last approved budget. Left-wing groups, such as the Public School Forum of N.C., have proposed pay hikes of nearly 25% for teachers.

Board member Dr. Olivia Oxendine said she supports raises for teachers but wants a more long-term view on the topic of what a teacher may earn in raises over a 30-year career.

“We’ve got to take a more investment kind of focus and build that into the culture of North Carolina when we begin having conversations around salary and pay and benefits,” Oxendine said. “We need to shift the conversation from making ends meet to making long term investments per teacher.”

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson said, “It’s time we started paying our teachers like professionals and holding them to that professional standard. This is one of the reasons I’m such a big proponent of the state being fiscally responsible, because we need to have that money available to pay our teachers. They need to be at the top of the pecking order when it comes time to pass out the money.”

“We want to be competitive with our southeastern neighbors,” said board chair Eric Davis. “What I hear from superintendents so often is that it’s not just the neighboring states, it’s the private employer that’s able to offer so much more than we’re able to offer.”

Board member Dr. Amy White wanted to eliminate the idea of being competitive with other states.

“If we’ve competitive, then that means we are satisfied with the status quo, and that’s no where we should be thinking. We should be thinking about leading,” White said.

The proposal comes while the state board is also considering revamping the teacher licensure process. Currently, teacher pay is tied to years of experience. Starting salaries for public school teachers with a bachelor’s degree clock in at $37,000 a year for 10 months of work. By year 25, that salary increases to $54,000. These amounts don’t take into account the local supplements paid by school districts, which is part of teachers’ full salary.

Under a new proposed framework, teacher pay would be linked to credentialing and instructor effectiveness.