The Senate budget would raise the average teacher salary by 11.2 percent to an average of $51,198. But the average salary does not mean much unless it is adjusted for cost of living.
For example, Hawaii’s average teacher salary, estimated to be $56,291 for the current school year, looks groovy until you realize that it has the highest cost of living of any state and D.C. Hawaii’s unadjusted average salary ranks 20th highest, but its adjusted salary drops the state average to dead last.
To see where North Carolina would land under the Senate plan, I used the NEA teacher salary estimates for the 2013-14 school year and adjusted for cost of living using ACCRA indexes by state. Obviously, average salaries among states are moving targets, so North Carolina’s teacher pay ranking for the upcoming school year will depend, in part, on factors beyond the state’s control. Simply put, there is no guarantee that the ranking calculated here will be the state’s ranking next year.
That said, I crunched the numbers and North Carolina’s adjusted average teacher salary would be $53,387, good enough to place it 25th of all states and D.C. Because our cost of living is lower than the national average, teachers’ salaries go further here than in other states.