Houston officials luring N.C. teachers with $20K raise

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A school district more than 1,000 miles away offered jobs with higher pay to Charlotte-area teachers Friday. 
 
The Houston Independent School District has been in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte this week holding career fairs. The district already hired 20 teachers from North Carolina during a recruitment trip in Raleigh in May.
 
Eyewitness News met Chyna Cole after her meeting with Texas recruiters Friday. She said it went well.
 
"I think North Carolina needs to wake up and start to really honor their teachers and the job they're doing. They should consider this a wakeup call," Cold said.
 
The North Carolina native will graduate in December with a degree in special education, a specific area for which HISD is recruiting. 
 
She's eager to teach, and as much as she'd love to stay in-state, she doesn't feel she can.
 
"They definitely have more monetary compensation and more career opportunities.  I just think that's the way i want to go," Cole said.
 
HISD says it starts teachers at $49,100 a year.  North Carolina teacher salaries start at $30,800. There is no state income tax in Texas and the cost of living is comparable to Charlotte.
 
"It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. This is economics 101," Bill Anderson of MeckEd said. 
 
Anderson said North Carolinians should be worried especially since Houston’s superintendent Terry Grier used to be the superintendent in Guilford County.
 
The district told me, Grier is well aware North Carolina teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation.
 
Pay is why Ricky Ferguson, a Union County teacher with a master’s degree, said after being offered a job Friday, he'll move to Houston in two weeks.
 
"I'm walking away with a contract in hand. I am doubling my North Carolina salary by moving back to Texas," Ferguson said.
 
He’s making a major move, even though he says he'd prefer to stay here.  
 
The Houston Independent School District said it has 250 positions to fill.
 
Channel 9 will have a better idea of the total number they hired from Charlotte and North Carolina next week.
 
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools told us that retaining and attracting the best teachers and staff is it's top priority.
In a statement to Channel 9, a district spokesperson said, superintendent Morrison and other district leaders are continuing to push state lawmakers to come to a budget agreement and approve teacher raises.
 
At this point, lawmakers have not scheduled a vote.
 
CMS teachers return to school in 31 days.

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