Pitt County School officials want more money for teacher - WSPA.com

Pitt County School officials want more money for teacher bonuses

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

When it comes to your child's school, less money means fewer resources. And some educators say it's driving the best teachers away.

"It's been really tough that we have not felt valued as educators," says Mary Robinson, a math teacher at South Central High School in Winterville, and the president of the Pitt County Association of Educators.

When she started teaching more than a decade ago, she says there were small class sizes, good benefits and adequate resources.

But now, "It's much tougher with larger class sizes," she says. "I don't get much time to spend one-on-one with my students unless they come after school for individual help."

In the past two years, Pitt County School teachers like her have seen their local funding drop by more than $1 million.

"There's increasing accountability on teachers, without the increased resources to help us be successful," Robinson says. "It's discouraging when on top of that, we haven't received raises in many years."

The average teacher salary in Pitt County is $7,000 less than the state average and $17,000 less than the national average. Plus, the school board cut beginning teacher pay supplements two years ago to prevent job losses.

Pitt County Schools Public Information Officer Brock Letchworth says it was a short-term solution.

"However, what we've come to realize is that long term, is that going to be most beneficial to us as we try to continue to attract and retain quality teachers in Pitt County?" he says.

Robinson adds, "Absolutely teachers are frustrated, and feel like we can definitely make more money with less stress elsewhere."

Now, the school board is requesting $200,000 for those new teacher bonuses this upcoming year from county commissioners. It's a move Robinson says will make the district more competitive.

"I think that better qualified staff will come where the money is and that translates into greater student achievement," she says.

Pitt County Schools is the 18th largest school system in the state, but it ranks 42nd in funding-per-student.

School board members will present their budget to the county commissioners next Wednesday. That's when they will also propose changes in appropriations that include the reinstatement of capital appropriations. Those total $750,000 for general maintenance and repair. Plus, they plan to request an increase of $731,561 to fund fixed cost increases and compensation incentives.

Letchworth says 75-90 percent of all money the school board spends is used in the classroom.

 

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