Last year, an intern and I attempted to obtain public school employee salary data for each of North Carolina’s 115 school districts. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction does not maintain a central database of employee compensation information. As a result, we were forced to contact each district and requested that they pull salary data from their payroll system.
In the end, 45 school districts provided employee compensation information for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. The other 70 districts did not respond, created various barriers to obtaining the information, or claimed it was not possible.
Fast forward to yesterday. In his State of the State Address, Governor Roy Cooper mentioned three teachers to illustrate the supposed need for huge increases in state public school funding.
I do not have salary data for employees of the Durham County Schools or Guilford County Schools. Therefore, I cannot identify the pay of veteran Durham teacher Wendell Tabb and Guilford teacher Sabrina Peacock, who Cooper mentioned in his address.
Wake County high school teacher Jasmine Lauer, who “uses her own money to buy classroom supplies,” received a 6.3 percent increase between 2014-15 and 2015-16. Ms. Lauer had a gross salary of $61,693.88 in 2015. Due to increases in state and local education funding, her salary increased to $65,561.88 in 2016. (Her salary for the current school year is not available.) The question of whether she can afford to buy classroom supplies is separate from the issue of whether she should. Regardless, the salary figure does provide some much-needed context to the story.