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Low pay is reason for state’s current educator shortage, local teacher says

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — The North Carolina Department of Public instruction is calling for more teachers to come to the state.

The agency teamed up with teach.org to release a new public service announcement, calling more people to the classroom.

“I believe it’s kind of like a band-aid; there are definitely some deep-rooted things we need to fix, that can’t be fixed just by saying, ‘Here’s something we can do,” said Christy Core, Buncombe County third-grade teacher.

Core said it’s going to take more than a PSA to fix North Carolina’s teacher shortage.

“Part of the reason is teacher pay. North Carolina’s average teacher pay is $10,000 less than the national average,” Core said. “So, a lot of people are fleeing to other states, like Georgia and Virginia, just to get more money.”

Governor Roy Cooper’s latest state budget proposal from late March includes a 10% pay increase for kindergarten through 12th grade N.C. teachers.

Still, if the measure passes through the North Carolina General Assembly, local school budgets will have to reconcile how to keep all current staff employed while bringing wages up to the state’s proposed hourly minimum wage.

State statistics show about 7% of teachers leave North Carolina public schools annually, typically citing retirement or family relocation.

“In our state, it’s getting increasingly harder to find teachers to apply for jobs and retain teachers,” Core said.

Core said she doesn’t believe state lawmakers are supporting teachers.

Recently, legislators voted public school teachers won’t qualify to receive state medical coverage when they retire if they are hired from 2021 and on.

That’s a move Core said directly impacts the teacher shortage, and will likely see it continue.

“I would encourage them to go to other states until North Carolina can figure out what to do,” Core said.

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