Dare County teacher supplement increase discussed at 5-on-5 Committee meeting

Published 7:06 am Friday, February 25, 2022

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A proposal about increasing Dare County school teacher supplements was put forth at the 5-on-5 Committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

At the request of Dare County Board of Education Chairman Joe Tauber, Dare Schools Superintendent John Farrelly presented the proposal and backup information to the Dare County contingent attending the meeting.

A $2.6 million overage in saved local funds exists in the Dare County Schools budget.

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Under the funding agreement between Boards of Commissioners and Education, amounts over $1 million in the schools’ fund balance are to be returned to Dare County.

The proposal is to keep the overage “in a separate fund that will allow a $500 per teacher supplement increase spanning the next 11 years: $500 x 465 teachers = $232,500 x 11 years = $2,557,500.”

After the presentation and discussion, the consensus of those at the committee meeting is to recommend to the Dare County Board of Commissioners a supplement increase. The funding agreement would be maintained. Dare commissioners will take up the supplement increase during the budget process.

After Farrelly’s presentation, Robert L. Woodard said “we have struggled and not stepped up to the plate for supplements.” He supported the proposal.

Farrelly reported that the school district formed a “Teacher Supplement Commission” in 2020, pre-pandemic. Some 25 staff members were involved in research and analysis.

In 2020, supplements in North Carolina ranged from $0 to $8,782. The state average was $5,216.

Dare County ranked No. 21 out of 115 school districts with an average supplement of $4,137. Four smaller districts ranked above Dare: Person, Asheville City, Clinton City and Currituck at $4,204 ranked No. 20.

Six districts provided no supplements.

In 2020, Dare County ranked No. 2 of 115 school districts in highest median home cost at $327,800, while the state average was $187,300. And the Dare County cost of living index put the district in the No. 3 position among the 115 school districts in the state.

The school board’s current policy distributes supplements to teachers with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and in seven years of experience ranges. In category 0 to 5, for example, the supplement is $3,500 for bachelor’s, $3,750 for master’s and $4,000 for doctoral.

Supplements started in 1998 and through 2009 were only for those teachers with master’s degrees. In 2009, the bachelor’s category was established and in 2010 the doctoral degree was added. In 2014, the 31-35 year and 36 years and above brackets were upped by $250.

The supplement brackets ranging from 0 to 30 years have not changed since 2010.

The Teacher Supplement Commission conducted a teacher survey to which 72% of the teachers responded. Respondents serving as primary providers for families were 64.1%. Some 51% reported having a second job with 50% seasonal and 50% year-round.

Some 23% of Dare teachers are National Board Certified which can mean salary increases from $9,000 to $12,000 per year. Board certification requires 80 hours of continuing education and takes more than a year to complete.

Attending the meeting for Dare County Board of Commissioners were Woodard, board Vice Chairman Wally Overman and commissioner Rob Ross, county manager Robert L. Outten and finance director David Clawson.

Attending the meeting for the Dare County Board of Education were Tauber, Vice Chairman David Twiddy, Farrelly and finance director Candy Tilley. Not present was Frank Hester, school board member.

Audience members included Board of Education members Mary Ellon Ballance and Margaret Lawler, former school board chairman Bea Basnight, Malcolm Fearing and school district administrators Sandy Kinzel, Keith Parker and Johanna Parker. Two parents also attended.