WTVD, 3/18/15

A new report ranks North Carolina 42nd in the nation for teacher pay, despite raises approved last year. In 2014, the state ranked 47th in the country.

According to estimates by the National Education Association, the national average teacher salary for 2014-2015 is $57,379. In North Carolina, it is $47,783.

Last July, GOP leaders touted their pay plan as the largest in state history. They promised an average seven percent salary increase would boost North Carolina to 32nd in the country for teacher pay.

The NEA report also reveals per pupil spending decreased from $8,632 in 2014 to $8,620 in 2015, ranking North Carolina among the lowest in the nation.

"This report just underscores that the people leading the General Assembly are not serious about public schools and keeping our good teachers," said Progress N.C. Executive Director Gerrick Brenner.

Critics blame Republican lawmakers for not investing enough in educators. While they admit raising pay for new teachers was a good start, they say tens of thousands of teachers are being ignored.

Under Gov. Pat McCrory's recent budget proposal, only about a third of state-funded teachers would receive a salary increase.

"It's about 60,000 plus teachers in the school buildings who haven't received a salary increase and won't receive a salary increase, and I think you have to start there if you really want to increase the funding for public education and particularly for educators," said N.C. Association of Educators President Rodney Ellis.

Senior Education Advisor to Gov. McCrory, Eric Guckian, defended the governor's budget proposal Wednesday.

"Gov. McCrory is leading a change that makes targeted investments in education spending that has students, not special interests, at the center of the equation. These investments include a billion dollar increase in teacher pay since becoming governor, a recommended $70 million increase in instructional supplies that includes textbooks and digital devices, and a recommended policy that rewards teachers for their results-driven leadership," Guckian said. 

Sen. Phil Berger told ABC11 Wednesday afternoon he had not read the NEA report, but was still confident the state is heading in the right direction.

"We remain committed to providing raises to beginning teachers and to make sure that we are competitive in the entry level market for teachers in North Carolina," said Berger.

To read the complete report, click here.