Wake teachers thankful for pay raise, but disappointed it's 'not enough' to handle inflation

Elaina Athans Image
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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"It's really not enough," the teacher said. "When you compare the cost of living in Wake County to the raises that have been offered, it's kind of disappointing."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the Wake County Public School System looks to fill teacher positions this school year, it's looking ahead to the upcoming year and is creating a new pay scale for educators.

Raises were just approved by the Wake County School Board.

Teachers, principals, counselors, social workers, and other certified instructional team members will receive a 4 percent increase.

WATCH: NC teachers rally against proposed new pay structure

Non-certified staff, such as bus drivers, will also see a bump of about 4 percent or up to $16 an hour, whichever is the higher amount.

These raises are for the 2022-2023 school year and employees will receive retroactive pay in their September paycheck.

On top of this, eligible employees will receive a bonus of $1,250 in their November paycheck.

Wake teacher Kiana Espinoza says any pay increase is more than welcome, but she was hoping the raise would be closer to the rate of inflation, which had been as high as 9 percent.

"It's really not enough," said Espinoza. "When you compare the cost of living in Wake County to the raises that have been offered, it's kind of disappointing."

The Wake County Chapter of the NCAE says the raises equate to an extra $20 to $35 dollars per month depending on where a staff member is on the salary schedule.

"It is something considering we got nothing from the state," said NCAE-Wake President Christina Spears.

She worries it's not enough to retain workers and help fill vacancies.

"We know people want to get paid to do a job and we know that pay is a way we show respect to workers," said Spears.

Espinoza says the raise won't cover what she's already spent out-of-pocket to get her classroom ready for the upcoming school year.

"I probably already spent that $100 difference and I'll be spending more throughout the year because I love my kids," said Espinoza.