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'We value all of our employees' | Guilford County Schools superintendent proposes teacher, principal pay increases in budget

The budget calls for $18.75 million to increase salary supplements for teachers, principals and assistant principals.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Editor's Note: Video from April 27, discusses possible teacher pay increases in Guilford County.  

Guilford County Board of Commissioners will soon discuss and vote on the Guilford County Schools’ budget.

The Guilford County Board of Education voted to send the 2022-23 budget to the Guilford County Board of Commissioner Tuesday night. The proposed $1 billion budget calls for $18.75 million to increase salary supplements for teachers, principals and assistant principals. School leaders said the budget breakdown includes the following:

  • $10 million to increase the local teacher supplement.
  • $5.5 million to adjust salaries based on the initial results of a classified staff salary study.
  • $3.25 million to improve local principal and assistant principal salary supplements.

"This is the largest request that we’ve made in Guilford County to the board of county commissioners trying to right the compensation of our employees," said GCS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras. "We value all of our employees so much and we’ve been working hard to make sure that teachers have a supplement that (is the) top three in the state."

School leaders said it will help them to become more competitive when it comes to paying staff. Currently, North Carolina’s teacher salaries rank near the bottom for teacher pay, according to a recent report from the National Education Association.

The district is also conducting a salary compensation study to help figure out where salary increases are needed. The budget sets aside $5.5 million to raise pay in those areas.

"We do know that we have identified specific positions where we are really struggling to fill those positions in our maintenance area, our bus drivers, teacher's assistants, some in our technology department. They are positions that we are really having a tough time filling and so we have asked for the $5.5 million to bring these specific positions up to at least a minimum of the proposed salary," said Angie King, the Chief Financial Officer for GCS. 

RELATED: Guilford Co. Schools names who will replace Dr. Sharon Contreras as interim superintendent

The budget also includes the following:

  • $8.5 million increase in funding is needed to sustain current service levels by matching state-mandated pay and benefit-cost increases for locally paid teachers, principals and support staff.
  • $3.36 million in new local funding will be needed to pay for anticipated increases in charter school enrollment.
  • District leadership has identified savings of $1.56 million, resulting in a recommended net increase of $25.7 million in local funding from the Board of County Commissioners.
  • The budget recommendation includes $10 million in capital outlay funds for deferred maintenance projects including HVAC upgrades, roof repairs, outdoor lighting, and safety and security improvements.
  • If funded by county commissioners, Guilford County Schools’ operating budget for the 2022-2023 school year would be $1.007 billion, excluding capital outlay.
  • Local funding would account for 25.3% of GCS’ proposed operating budget, while state and federal funding would contribute 46.2% and 28.5%, respectively.

Dr. Contreras said the state of the school buildings also contributes to recruiting and retaining staff. So, the $10 million for deferred maintenance projects will hopefully help the district in multiple ways. 

"I’ve mentioned compensation isn’t the only factor that keeps teachers employees and families in the district. they look at the school buildings. It’s very difficult to work under conditions where, we are in the south in North Carolina, and air condition(ing) isn’t working (in) our buildings," said Contreras. 

RELATED: A/C problems in Guilford County Schools could take a decade to fix

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners will discuss the budget request and vote on funding in June.