CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina teachers are responding to dealing with no pay raise again. The state's nearly $21 billion budget doesn't include money for a raise.
This news is on top of a study the North Carolina Association of Educators circulated showing North Carolina is last when it comes to increase of teacher pay. The report ranks North Carolina as 51st. Teacher pay has declined in the Tar Heel state by about 16%.
"They don't like the fact we are dropping nationally." Char-Meck Association of Educator President Charles Smith said.
Smith says teachers now are looking elsewhere to work.
"We've had teachers leave to go to other states - South Carolina," Smith said. "Since it's close. It's a lot of young teachers because they don't see a lot of opportunity for the salaries to increase."
Smith says it's bad in North Carolina.
"A six year teacher," Smith said. "Is still getting paid the same as a first year teacher."
The Rock Hill School District in South Carolina says North Carolina teachers always show interest in working in the Palmetto State. Pay is on the rise in South Carolina. Teachers will receive a 2% raise next year. That's something NC teachers would love to have. Also SC teachers will receive extra money to buy supplies. That's a perk NC teachers don't get.
"The state of South Carolina gives teachers 275 dollars each," Rock Hill Schools Exec. Dir. of Finance Elaine Bilton said. "In our district, a check - to go to buy teachers supplies for their classroom."
NC teachers are not giving up. They plan to travel to Raleigh to participate in the Moral Monday protests.
Judy Kidd from the Classroom Teachers Association blames the legislature for low teacher pay and for teachers looking elsewhere to work.
"The North Carolina legislature," Kidd said. "Has hung a sign at the border of the state - on every road coming in - for every teacher saying: We are not a teacher friendly state."
She claims her organization will try to convince lawmakers to bring teacher pay up to par. She will tell lawmakers if they want to bring new business to the state, they have to take care of teachers.
"You cannot bring business into North Carolina," Kidd said. "And expect businesses to relocate here, if the schools are not what they should be."
While teachers wait for change, Smith hopes teachers will stick it out and remember why they became a teacher.
"You got in it for the children," Smith said. "And that's why you stay in it - for the children and maybe somebody will look out for you at some point."