Leaders from the Houston Independent School District (HISD) were in Charlotte all day Friday recruiting teachers. They set up shop at the Hilton in Downtown Charlotte talking to teacher after teacher.
"I am interested because the money is great," One North Carolina teacher said. "It's a lot more money for what I do and I think we deserve it."
That teacher doesn't want to be identified. She doesn't want her school district to know she may be leaving. She was offered a job on the spot. She teaches English as a Second Language. HISD offered her nearly $20,000 more a year and financial assistance to relocate. She has been teaching in North Carolina for 10 years and hasn't received a raise in about six years.
"I think it's pretty sad," the teacher said. "Because it's a great place to live here and I really wouldn't want to leave."
The veteran teacher has not made a decision but she told WBTV being a teacher in North Carolina is becoming more challenging.
"It's hard to live," the teacher said. "You have to have a part time job to be able to survive."
Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators (CMAE) leaders say they don't blame Houston for coming to North Carolina, and they don't blame teachers for leaving.
"Some people have said you know what," CMAE Vice President Erlene Lyde said. "Forget it - I'm going now. Houston is taking advantage of it."
Lyde reports because of the teacher pay issue, CMAE membership has dropped. She is concerned finding teachers to replace teachers who are leaving will hurt students. School for most Charlotte – Mecklenburg students starts August 25th.
"You are going to see some classes without teachers," Lyde said. "And we always know at the beginning of the school year that is not a good thing, and I have been in schools where students didn't get their teachers for months. And we never get those kids back on track."
Politicians are still debating how much of a raise teachers should get.
"It's time for a change," the teacher said. "Debating is not working. It's time to take action. We need hire pay."
We reached out to state lawmakers to get reaction about Houston snatching North Carolina teachers. A spokesperson from President Pro Tem Senator Phil Berger sent this statement.
"The Senate's number one priority in this budget is to provide teachers with a dramatic pay raise - one that will truly move the needle and make North Carolina competitive. Our latest compromise offer with the House would offer teachers an immediate raise of more than eight percent on average and gives them far greater earning potential over the course of their careers - a major step toward attracting and keeping the best educators in the classroom."
So far 20 North Carolina teachers have accepted Houston's offer. The number is expected to rise after HISD conducted job fairs this week in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte.
Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.
730 North Summit Street