North Carolina teachers who are currently working toward a master's degree will receive a salary increase, Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday in a news release.
The issue has been hotly debated in recent weeks, as teacher pay increases for those with master's degrees was cut from the state budget.
McCrory had not been pushing hard for this in recent weeks. He told WNCN's Penn Holderness in an interview in August, "Now I hope that we can re-instate the master's pay, but not make pay increases dependent upon whether or not you've got a master's degree. That doesn't always determine that you're a better teacher.
"I think it should be a combination of what your education is and how you perform in the classroom."
But state support for education overall, and teachers in particular, has been a hot topic since the legislative session. McCrory's original budget called for a 1 percent pay increase for teachers.
Kevin Hill, a Wake County teacher and member of the Wake County School Board, said "I'm working with three students this semester who are student teaching and will graduate with their MAT [Master's of Arts in Teaching] in December. Two of the three have told me they're moving out of the state."
McCrory met with the State Board of Education Wednesday and announced the state would give those teachers currently getting master's a raise once they earn their advanced degree.
"We have found the necessary funds through my budget office to ensure that over 3,000 teachers currently pursuing their master's degrees will receive a salary increase when they graduate, an investment of over $10 million," McCrory said. "I also signed an executive order to create the Governor's Teacher Advisory Council, which will give a voice to a diverse group of teachers from across the state."
Hill made the point that obtaining a master's degree in teaching from an institution like N.C. State costs around $10,000.
"It takes about three years of that pay differential to be at that break even point," Hill said.