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Pay increase for NHCS teachers gets school board approval, heads to county commissioners for vote

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Vice Chair Nelson Beaulieu praised the New Hanover County Commissioners for planning to appropriate funding for competitive teacher supplements.

The New Hanover County School Board unanimously approved a county budget request to increase teacher salaries and spending per student.

The school system has asked the county for $98.5 million for operating costs, capital expenditures, and pre-K funding. It would be a budget increase of 16% from last year.

Mary Hazel Small, chief financial officer, gave details as to what some of the additional funding would support.

“That is based on the county’s proposal to increase our teacher supplement to the highest or near the highest in the state with an average of $9,000 per teacher. And the new per-pupil rate we’re requesting is $3,423 per student.”


Vice-Chair Nelson Beaulieu said he’s giving the new budget a PG-rated paraphrase of then-Vice President Joe Biden.

“This is a big, fun deal. It is a big, fun deal, and a request like this couldn’t happen without the partnerships that we’ve all worked so hard to develop with our county funding partners.”

Also in the request, the district wants to double the number of pre-K classrooms, bringing it to six total. Board Member Stephanie Walker said she’d like to see that increase that even further.

Board Member Judy Justice also brought up discussion on bringing bus drivers and cafeteria workers up to $15 an hour. While increasing those salaries is a goal of the district, staff didn't yet have a definitive answer. One of the reasons, Small cited, is that the North Carolina state budget has yet to pass.

The New Hanover County Commission will vote to approve the school’s budget next month.

Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR