After working the past several years to ensure North Carolina is more competitive with surrounding states in teacher compensation, one of the top 2017 legislative priorities of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and the North Carolina Principal and Assistant Principals' Association (NCPAPA) was an increase in school-based administrator compensation. In addition to more funding for school-based administrator pay, our associations' goal was to obtain a simplified pay scale for principals and assistant principals and move away from a block grant funding proposal as was suggested by last year's legislative study committee on principal pay and proposed by a Senate bill earlier this year. Read More
After working the past several years to ensure North Carolina is more competitive with surrounding states in teacher compensation, one of NCASA’s top 2017 legislative priorities is an increase in schoolbased administrator compensation. In addition to more funding for school-based administrator pay, NCASA’s goal was to retain a simplified pay scale for principals and assistant principals, and move away from a block grant funding proposal as suggested at the conclusion of last year’s legislative study committee on principal pay, and as proposed by a Senate bill earlier this year.
Released on Monday, the General Assembly’s 2017-2018 budget appropriates $35.4 million in new dollars to increase principal and assistant principal compensation, increasing further to an additional $40.6 million in 2018-2019. The budget also completely overhauls the salary structure for both principals and assistant principals. NCASA worked with General Assembly leadership in drafting the proposal in lieu of shifting all principal pay to a block grant our organization and members had opposed. Initial analysis suggests the plan, and funding with it, excluding the funding that is set for bonuses, will move average principal pay from just under $64,000 per year to roughly $70,000 per year and should improve North Carolina ranking in both the Southeast and the nation, where school leader compensation currently ranks at the bottom. The General Assembly’s pay plan, which includes an opportunity to earn up to $15,000 in bonuses, is as follows: Read More
The House’s 2017-2018 budget completely overhauls the salary structure for both principals and assistant principals. As sought by NCASA, both schedules will be linked to the teacher salary schedule, ensuring that as teacher salaries continue to increase, so do principal and assistant principal salaries. The annual salary for principals is composed of two factors. The first is a base, which is calculated using a monthly rate of pay equivalent to the monthly rate of pay for teacher with 15 years of experience on the “A” schedule, plus 12%. That number is then adjusted based on years of principal experience as follows: Read More
The Senate’s 2017-2018 budget appropriates $28 million dollars from lottery proceeds to increase principal and assistant principal compensation. The Senate’s budget also completely overhauls the salary structure for both principals and assistant principals. NCASA worked with Senate leadership in drafting the proposal in lieu of shifting all principal pay to a block grant our organization and members had opposed. Initial analysis suggests the plan, and funding with it, excluding the funding that is set for bonuses, will move average principal pay from just under $64,000 per year to roughly $70,000 per year and should improve North Carolina ranking in both the Southeast and the nation, where school leader compensation currently ranks at the bottom. The Senate’s pay plan is as follows: Read More
NCASA, in conjunction with the North Carolina Principals & Assistant Principals' Association (NCPAPA) sent a letter to the sponsors of Senate Bill 234 expressing our concerns with the proposed method of paying principal salaries by providing a block grant dollar allotment to districts to contract with principals individually. Talking points outlining NCASA's and NCPAPA's concerns can be found here.
Adam Pridemore | NCASA - Legislation was filed in the Senate today that would fund principal salaries for the 2017-2018 fiscal year at 7% above the average total salary paid to a principal from State funds in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. However, in lieu of a salary schedule, these funds would be distributed to LEAs in a lump sum to provide individual salaries for each principal within the LEA at an amount at the discretion of the LEA’s superintendent. The bill provides that a principal must earn at least as much as that principal earned in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The bill appropriates $13.7 million for principal salaries.
The legislation, Senate Bill 234, also would provide all principals with a one-time $2,600 bonus for 2017-2018 and additionally would set up a new principal bonus program awarding qualifying principals with up to five, one-time $1,000 bonuses for a total of up to an additional $5,000. These bonuses would be eligible to principals in LEAs receiving supplemental low-wealth funding. The bonuses would be distributed at the discretion of the superintendent of the LEA to principals based on the following performance standards:
• Exhibiting strong leadership.
• Improving the learning environment, including maintaining discipline in the school.
• Creating a positive community impression of the school, including maintaining high morale at the school.
• Improving the physical environment at the school, including the appearance of the school.
Principals would also qualify for a $1,000 bonus if the principal’s school exceeds expected growth. The bill appropriates $6.7 million to pay for these bonuses.
The legislation also makes adjustments to assistant principal salaries. The bill provides that for 2017-2018, assistant principals would receive a monthly salary based on the salary schedule for teachers who are classified as "A" teachers plus an additional 13%. Tying assistant principal salaries back to the teacher scale would fix the issue of some teachers making more money than assistant principals which have previously occurred, and ensure assistant principals receive an equal pay raise as teachers when teacher salaries are increased. The bill appropriates $4 million to pay the assistant principal pay increases.
The legislation also creates the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund, designed to award grants to tier 1 and tier 2 counties to assist with their public school building capital needs. The fund would be administered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction who would award the grants based on the following:
• Counties designated as development tier one areas.
• Counties with greater need and less ability to generate sales tax and property tax revenue.
• Counties with a high debt-to-tax revenue ratio.
• The extent to which a project will address critical deficiencies in adequately serving the current and future student population.
Grants awarded would be subject to a matching requirement, and limits the amount a county may receive in a fiscal year to $10 million. The bill appropriates $75 million to the Fund.
All of the above programs and salary changes and increases are proposed to be fully funded through lottery revenues. To help ensure there are sufficient lottery funds to pay for these programs and changes, the bill also proposing an increase in the lottery advertising costs from 1% to 2%.
A press conference was held by the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell). That press conference can be watched in its entirety on WRAL-TV here.
Before taking a position on the Senate’s pay plan for principals, NCASA is asking for member feedback on the lump sum/block grant proposal. NCASA has previously stated our concerns with block grant funding, which are the following:
• It will create winners and losers between districts by creating a recruiting/bidding war.
• Requiring each district to negotiate salaries with each principal in their district could be hugely time consuming in larger districts, and could open the door for collective bargaining in a non-union state
• It could open school districts up to EEOC discrimination claims and lawsuits.
• The block grant may hinder efforts to recruit teachers into the principalship because there would be no salary predictability and stability for school leaders.
Please provide NCASA with your feedback on this proposal so we may best advocate on this issue in the coming weeks. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Adam Pridemore | NCASA – The Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based Administrator Pay held its first meeting earlier this week, unveiling a new proposed method of paying school-based administrators. That proposal would eliminate the current principal salary schedule and replace it with a block grant dollar allotment for superintendents to pay principals at a level negotiated between the two parties. The proposal also would provide a pool of funds for smaller/poorer LEAs to reduce local supplement pay gaps with larger, wealthier districts, and an additional pot of funds to provide bonuses to principals who meet certain, to-be-determined criteria. Lastly, the proposed plan would replace the current assistant principal salary schedule with one that pays assistant principals some percentage higher than a teacher with similar years of experience.
After a review of the school-based administrator pay proposal, the committee turned to a panel made up of superintendents and advocates from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) for feedback on the proposal. The panel included the following:
Across the board, the panel advised against converting principal salaries to a block grant dollar allocation. Mrs. Joyce urged legislators to focus on providing a competitive base salary schedule for all assistant principals and principals and then layer incentive pay/bonuses on top, much like the General Assembly has done in recent years in increasing teacher compensation. She additionally noted that a defined salary schedule is essential for recruitment as it provides teachers, and possible administrator candidates, with an expectation of earnings at all levels of service.
The superintendents on the panel also expressed their concerns with the block grant proposal. Dr. Till said that negotiating individual contracts with 87 different principals would be overly burdensome in his district and would create inequities. Dr. Emery echoed that concern and noted it would similarly affect small and large districts alike. Dr. Gainey cautioned that negotiations to determine individual principal pay could open the school district up to employment discrimination complaints and lawsuits that would be time-consuming, costly and counter-productive.
Dr. Mubenga expressed support for the committee’s proposal to add gap funding to help smaller and less wealthy districts to be more competitive in pay they can offer their school-based leaders. In response to a question from Committee Co-Chair Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) who asked the best approach for addressing this gap, the panel proposed tying it into, or modeling it after, the current model for low-wealth and small school supplemental funding.
The new committee and its study is in response to NCASA’s request for the General Assembly to address problems related to current school-based administrator pay. NCASA, in collaboration with our two core affiliates – the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association and the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association, have raised awareness among lawmakers and the public that North Carolina principal pay ranks 50th out 51 states in the nation (counting the District of Columbia), and is hurting school district efforts to attract and retain high-quality school leaders that are essential to student success. The General Assembly included a requirement in the 2016 state budget law for the committee to launch and study concerns related to N.C. principal compensation and make recommendations on the following:
Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), the other committee co-chair, kicked off the meeting by stating that there needed to be, at a minimum, a 3% to 5% increase in the total pot of money going to school-based administrator pay. He also indicated that current state funding needs to be supplemented with $8 million to $10 million in incentive pay to help school districts address their specific needs in attracting and retaining great principals and assistant principals.
The meeting started with a history of the current school-based administrators’ salary structure by Alexis Schauss, Director of the Division of School Business at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Ms. Schauss informed the committee that in the 1990s the school-based administrator salary structure started simple, but adjustments over the years have created 1,500 different steps/possible pay scenarios for which a principal or assistant principal can be paid. She also highlighted how the state’s freeze on the principal salary schedule between 2009 and 2014 resulted in all assistant principals with 0-9 years of experience earning the same pay on the bottom step and not being eligible to move to step 2 on their schedule until completing 10 years in that role, and ultimately taking 36 years for the same individual to reach the top of the pay scale. Similarly, it now takes N.C. principals 37 to 46 years to reach the top of their pay scale.
The committee is directed by law to submit its findings and recommendations by December 31 and is expected to meet at least two more times before the end of the year.
A recent study conducted by U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that out of the 55 US states and territories, North Carolina ranks 51st in principal and assistant principal pay. North Carolina is just barely ahead of Guam, West Virginia, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Click here for a full look at this study.
NCPAPA sent this letter to all the budget conferees, sharing the study and asking them to take this news into consideration as they work through the budget negotiations. NCASA urges you to reach out to our conferees in support of our public schools.
YOUR 2014 LEGISLATIVE SESSION RESOURCE