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Wake Schools See Increase In Teacher Resignations

RALEIGH, N.C. Wake County school officials say the number of teacher resignations has increased 41 percent this year.


School officials said Thursday that 612 of the county's 9,000 teachers have resigned since the beginning of the school year. That compares with 433 resignations during the same time last year.


School officials said the increase shows the need to raise teacher salaries. They also say the state should reconsider changes lawmakers have made to phase out tenure and to eliminate extra pay for advanced degrees.


Assistant superintendent Doug Thilman says teachers are finding better jobs elsewhere.


"Good teachers are having to make hard decisions to leave our classrooms for a better future somewhere else or in another line of work, in another profession - not in our public schools and not in our state," Thilman said.


North Carolina is 46th in the nation in average teacher pay.


Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam of Apex says he's not sure the situation is as serious as Wake school officials say. Stam noted the increase in the number of teachers who retired as a big reason for the increase in resignations.


A total of 142 teachers have taken early retirement this school year, compared with 55 at the same point last year.


Teacher turnover reached the second highest rate in a decade last year across North Carolina.


Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders propose increasing the base teacher salary to $33,000 this year and $35,000 in 2015. The current starting salary is $30,800.


But McCrory and GOP legislative leaders say fiscal challenges could prevent the state from giving raises to veteran teachers.


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