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Teachers, some principals get raises in new Brunswick County Schools budget

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By Sam Hickman

 All teachers, all assistant principals and elementary and middle school principals are getting raises this year in the budget approved by the Brunswick County Board of Education.

The board members also approved a one-time $1,000 bonus for all full-time employees in the 2013-14 budget, which was passed during the Aug. 27 retreat. Part-time employees will receive a pro-rated amount. 

The teachers’ and principals’ raises came from a revision to the 2013-2014 supplement schedule.

Spending efficiencies are credited for the employee bonuses, said Brunswick County Schools finance officer Freyja Cahill.

The bonus equates to a 3.2 percent pay increase for a beginning teacher, said Jessica Swencki, executive director of quality assurance and community engagement. Employees can expect to receive their bonuses in November. 

Combined with the revised supplement schedule rate of 7.7 percent, a beginning teacher in Brunswick County receives a 10.9 percent local supplement to the state’s base salary.

The bonus combined with the supplement schedule amounts to a 7 percent pay increase for an employee making $20,000 per year. 

“The board and I are delighted to provide a small but well-deserved bonus to a very hardworking and dedicated group of employees,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden said in a news release.

Shallotte Middle School seventh-grade teacher William Hughes said employees are certainly grateful for the bonuses.

“We appreciate all of the efforts of commissioners and the board of education to help with the teacher needs in Brunswick County,” Hughes said.

Another Shallotte Middle teacher, Nathan Westmoreland, said it was nice to receive the monetary help on a local level.

“At a time when the state is hard-pressed to find money for education, it is nice to know that our local school board is able to provide a much needed bonus and boost to morale,” he said.

More needs to be done on the state level to pay North Carolina teachers more, Pruden said.

“The bonus in no way mitigates the need for significant and permanent increases to teacher salaries. North Carolina is $10,000 behind all border states,” he said. “North Carolina’s teacher salaries cannot sustain families.”

The county is doing anything it can to prevent its teachers from leaving for higher-paying job opportunities, board chairman Charles Miller said.

“We are losing outstanding teachers.  If the one-time bonus and supplement schedule revision can help keep them in our classrooms, it is worth every penny,” he said in the release.

 

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.