NHC schools submit plan to raise salaries and cut 230 jobs

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The New Hanover County Board of Education met for a special meeting to cover the school system budget on May 6. The current proposal provides for a higher minimum wage and wage increases, but would also cut 230 positions over the next few years.

In the plan sent to the commissioners, a minimum wage of $17 an hour would be implemented. Staff in pay grades 55 to 78 would receive an average salary increase of between 23% and 19%. As shown in the chart below, this plan would also involve a request for $2 million from the county in FY23, but by FY25 that would increase to $8.5 million. To help pay for the wage increase, 230 positions will be cut.

If the commissioners decide against the proposed budget, the school board plans to re-examine the other two options. The first option gives a $16 lower minimum hourly wage with a 1% step, but it also cuts only 134 positions. The second maintains the minimum hourly wage at $16 with a 2% step, but would eliminate 265 positions.

NHCS Board of Education teacher budget increase on May 6
NHCS Board of Education teacher budget increase on May 6(New Hanover County Schools)

The state pays for some positions, but anything above that allowance is the responsibility of the county. While it remains unclear exactly which positions will be cut, the following positions were highlighted during the meeting. In addition, all three versions of the budget proposed to cut positions in order to pay for other expenses.

“You put in, you have to take out. We’ll have to start looking in the fall for what those cuts will be. [will be]said Superintendent Charles Foust.

Some of the biggest cuts are for assistant principals and educational support positions, such as counselors, social workers and educational coaches. Deputy directors would drop from 59 to 24 (see footnote). Pedagogical support positions would be reduced from 238 to 115.

Classroom positions would be reduced by 22 positions: from 1151 to 1129. Elementary enrichment teachers would be reduced from 75 to 58. Enrichment teachers typically teach arts, music and other specialized subjects.

Academically smart/gifted teachers would also be reduced from 34 to 19 to match state allocations.

“I am okay: [teachers assistants] need money. But the more you cut, the more money you’ll lose to give money,” said Nelson Beaulieu, who voted against the measure alongside Stephanie Kraybill.

(Footnote: Although the presentation slide indicates that 34 principal assistant positions would have to be cut to reach the state allotment, the slide also indicates that the number of principals staffed with Status is 24 or 21, which seems to imply that at least 35 positions would need to be cut.)

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply