Letter: Boost salaries to retain quality educators

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The average starting salary in 2023 for college graduates was just over $55,000, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers survey. The average starting salary for a college graduate trained to be a professional educator in Asheville and Buncombe County Schools is approximately $42,000 a year.

Educator turnover rate is higher than in other professions. According to research, the top reason North Carolina educators list for leaving a teaching position was changing career fields, followed by taking an educator  position in another state. The primary reason listed for these transitions is inadequate income.

Clearly, the writing is on the wall. If you want to keep quality professional educators in the Asheville and Buncombe County public schools, compensation levels for starting teachers need to be $60,000 per annum.

Currently, first-year nurses at our local hospital are paid $25,000 a year more than our first-year educators in starting salary. It seems to me that a first-year professional educator who is tasked to take care of our children’s intellectual and emotional development should be compensated at a rate similar to a first-year pediatric nurse who is tasked to take care of children’s physical health.

Finally, if Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools were to combine and reduce the duplication of high-dollar administrative services, the achievement of competitive salaries for educators becomes more likely.

— Richard Boyum


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5 thoughts on “Letter: Boost salaries to retain quality educators

  1. indy499

    If unincorporated Buncombe resients didn’t mooch off the city taxpayers it would be far easier to do what you ask

  2. John Brigham

    The public does not know this: The hardest assignments are given to new teachers. The students are sometimes quietly funneled into groups by behavior. The difficult kids are put together and then that group is given to the new teachers. This is the culture of education in the United States. Education is a complex, messy business. The system is fundamentally dysfunctional and poor salaries are just one piece of it.

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    Why do all the democrat county commissioners never take care of this shortfall for teacher pay ?

    • WNC

      Buncombe county already gives teachers a supplement/bonus of between 10.5 and 18% . This is based on years worked times salary paid by the state, the state pays teacher salaries. We already pay state taxes to fund teacher pay.
      I’m certainly not saying teacher pay shouldn’t be higher just pointing to where it should come from.

  4. gapple

    Eliminate under performing teachers who are check box qualified only, eliminate the union dues, DEI nonsense and excessive administration and money would be available.

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