Chatham Schools considers supplementing teacher pay

Though the state controls teacher salaries, counties can have additional reward and recognition programs


A potential supplemental income plan to support the county's teachers was a major focus of the March 11 meeting of Chatham County Schools Board of Education.

The recognition of teachers in the county for exceptional service to students and the awards won by both teachers and students framed the discussion, along with public comments voicing support for higher wages.

Superintendent Anthony Jackson spoke to the possibilities of supplemental compensation presented his “Recruit, Retain, Recognize and Reward” plan to the board.

“All of this ties to our strategic priorities of ensuring that we put the absolute best people in front of our kids” Jackson stated. The plan seeks to provide incentives to teachers and reduce turnover.

“We have to do so within the context of the resources we have” he continued. “We have worked very diligently to make sure that any time there was a way to enhance or increase any level of compensation for staff we have done so”.

“The state is actually responsible for teachers salaries. The only obligation that the county has to the school district is in services, our water, things like that — not people,” explained Vice Chair Del Turner, addressed potential frustrations and explaining the role of the state legislature in funding. “Whenever county commissioners are offering supplements to school districts, they are doing it as a courtesy its not an obligation.”

The board will forward a proposal around improving teacher compensation to the county commissioners for further consideration.

Each month, the school board picks a district staff member for special recognition through the Power of One Award. It recognizes an individual who has had a powerful impact on shaping the direction of someone else's life.

This month’s award went to Laurin Deaton, a pre-K teacher at Siler City Elementary. Deaton’s nomination for the award read:

Laurin Deaton deserves the Power of One award because of the dedication and enthusiasm she gives her students and parents each day. The Pre-K year lays the foundation for how students and parents feel about school. This year my student has felt seen, loved, and challenged by Mrs. Laurin. This year as a parent I have felt supported, informed, and appreciated by Mrs. Laurin. She cares about her work and her students’ success and growth. She also cares about the relationships that she forms with her parents. I watch her each day greet her students and parents by name — I don’t take that for granted. As we near the end of our Pre-K year, I know that going forward we will forever be thankful for Mrs. Laurin and all of the wonderful attributes that make her an exceptional teacher.