The recent decision by the school board to limit out-of-district student admissions for specific grade levels this year has its roots in a more profound issue, as explained by Superintendent Mark Sale. A recent report from July highlights that this issue is not limited to our district alone; it’s a statewide problem. North Carolina, as of May this year, grappled with a staggering 5,000 unfilled teaching positions. To address this crisis, Governor Roy Cooper has earmarked $3 million in funding to assist in covering teacher license exam fees.
Efforts are underway to increase compensation for teachers, with both the state Senate and House pursuing divergent approaches. The House’s proposal is notably more generous, aiming to provide an average 10% salary increase over the span of two years for educators. In contrast, the Senate’s plan falls behind, offering a 4.5% raise over two years, primarily favoring those in the early stages of their careers.
Representative Mike Clampitt anticipates that this matter might resurface in the upcoming session commencing on September 11. He suggests that the plan currently under consideration may be a hybrid, combining elements from both proposals. At the time of this statement, the legislative calendar remains unconfirmed. Clampitt expresses hope that prioritizing the budget will be a prevailing concern.
During a school board meeting held over the summer, board members unanimously passed a resolution urging lawmakers to endorse the House’s more substantial raise plan.
Superintendent Sale also noted that one of the challenges faced by Swain County is its limited financial resources, which may deter potential teachers from considering it as a highly attractive option.