RALEIGH — North Carolina State Superintendent Catherine Truitt announced a plan to address concerns about the pay for public school principals that may have been reduced because of an updated provision in the 2022 state budget.
Per the provision, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, principals’ pay would be based on performance just for 2021-22, instead of three years’ worth of data. During the 2021-22 year schools were still seeing the effects of COVID-19 restrictions. Due to that change, many principals could see pay cuts between $7,200 to $18,000 over 12 months.
According to a press release from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the budget provision change “positively impacted many principals, especially those who became principals within the last three years, but negatively impacted approximately 360 principals, roughly 15%, whose schools had a pre-pandemic history of high performance.”
The 12-month cost to help those principals affected by the provision is estimated at $4.5 million and federal ESSER III funds can be used for this purpose, according to DPI’s statement.
“Principals were given a monumental load during the pandemic, as they were tasked with leading our schools in the midst of ever-changing circumstances that included students and teachers shuffling in and out of quarantine while classrooms alternated between virtual and in-person,” Truitt said in a statement.
She continued, “We are thrilled that we can hold our principals harmless given the incredibly challenging and extenuating circumstances that the pandemic brought into our schools. Their paychecks certainly shouldn’t be dictated by the uncertainty they absorbed and yet heroically managed through the 2021-22 school year.”
The State Board of Education will consider the plan at its next meeting scheduled for Sept. 1. Statewide testing and accountability data for the 2021-22 school year is also expected to be heard at that meeting.