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Proposed changes in teacher tenure

By Juliana Valencia
Published On: Feb 27 2014 04:32:57 PM CST

A group of teachers spoke to local lawmakers Thursday morning in a public forum about issues affecting public education.

NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY -

A group of teachers spoke to local lawmakers Thursday morning in a public forum about issues affecting public education. The group represented a room full of educators at the Craven County Board of Education.

Teachers talked about what they'd like to see accomplished in the upcoming legislative sessions. One of the hot button topics is the proposed change to teacher tenure.

Lawmakers want to create incentives for younger teachers to stay in North Carolina. However, for veteran teacher Shannon Potter, it's disconcerting.

"It looks like at some point some of the first to seven year would be making about the same as teacher who have been working 10 eleven and 12 years," Potter said.

The raise in salary would be offered in a four year contract to the top 25 percent of teachers who qualify.

Currently, the way the law's written it's ultimately up to the school district to decide which teachers are in that top 25 percent. So, Craven County could chose their teachers differently than a school in another county.   

Senator Sanderson said the guidelines for choosing which teachers are in the top 25 percent needs to be clarified.

"That needs to be perfectly clear and not left to different interpretations," Sanderson said.

Senator Sanderson said the General Assembly's intent for this law is not to create competition between teachers, but have teacher be competitive with themselves.

"In order, to do that sometimes there needs to be an incentive. It works everywhere else in our economic system," Sanderson said.

Craven County teacher of the year, Ike Smith, said all teachers deserve more money, not just twenty five percent.

"We need a plan that helps teachers who are not as effective become more effective, because nobody became a teacher to be a bad one," Smith said.

Representative John Bell said he's been meeting with teachers from several districts over the last week to figure out a solution that works for everyone.

"We hope to get a raise not just for new teachers but we'll hopefully get a raise to all veterans and also employees across the board," Bell said.

Representative Bell said a key thing this year is to be able to provide a raise for all state employees.

Senator Sanderson said he's planning on sharing the teachers' concerns with other lawmakers when he meets with his committees in Raleigh next week. Hes said they need to address these concerns  before the short session in May.