North Carolina: Principals May Have Their Salaries Reduced

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Some principals in the state of North Carolina are concerned that rather than getting the pay rises that have been promised to them in the recently passed state budget, they may instead see a decrease in their pay for the next school year.

In July, state legislators gave their approval to a budget that not only increases the compensation schedule for principals by 4% but also modifies the way in which school test results would be utilized to calculate pay. The budget for this year based principal remuneration on only the 2021-22 school year, when schools were still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of using test scores from many years, the budget for this school year only uses results from this school year.

Many school administrators in North Carolina are concerned that the new policy would lead to a reduction in their salaries. According to official state data, principals get an average starting salary of $82,160 per year. “It would be a shame to reduce any school leader’s pay by $9,000 or potentially $18,000 based entirely on the performance of a singular, exceptional year,” Patrick Greene, the 2022 North Carolina Principal of the Year, wrote in a letter sent Thursday to lawmakers. “I am asking, on behalf of school principals, that the leaders of our General Assembly consider a Hold Harmless provision to school leaders.”

Lauren Horsch, a spokesperson for Phil Berger, stated on Friday that the General Assembly would not pass a hold-harmless clause. For the first time since 2017, the state pays principals depending on the number of pupils in their school and if their school’s test results meet or surpass growth targets.