Carney’s education raises cause stir in compensation committee.

Posted on 03-28-2023

Gov. John Carney’s announcement last week of a 9% pay raise for teachers caused a lot of comment in Monday night’s Public Education Compensation Committee.

Also discussed was a proposal to keep teachers in their Delaware jobs by giving them full pension benefits at 25 years of service instead of making them wait until they reach 30 years.

Carney said his 2024 budget, which starts July 1, will give classroom teachers and specialists a 9% raise and all other educations a 3% raise starting in the fall.

Rep. Kim Williams, D-Marshallton, and chair of the House Education Committee, said her only concern is figuring out who gets the 9% raise and who doesn’t.

“If we do this for one, then where do we draw the line in not doing it for everyone?” she said. “If we pick one group and then we exclude the others, there’s going to be a lot of hurt feelings, and I think it could cause a lot of problems for this group.”

The compensation committee was created to make recommendations about teacher pay after Maryland and New Jersey said they will dramatically raise teacher pay in the next few years, giving starting teachers a salary of $60,000.

Afraid that would attract Delaware teachers, the  compensation committee was charged with issuing a recommendation by this fall.

Stephanie Ingram, president of the Delaware State Education Association, the state’s teacher union, asked the committee to evaluate what the pay scale would look like if all educators were getting the 9% raise. 

“In order to stay competitive, we need to make sure that we are raising everyone’s salaries to a respectable level,” she said. “I just want to know what that would look like as far as how much money that would cost the state.”

Rep. Mike Smith, R-Pike Creek, said the group was formed to address the shortage of teachers and ways to keep teachers in Delaware. 

If there’s another job category that’s short in a particular year, the committee should look at it then.

“It might be good as policymakers [to] just come up with a kind of unified definition of how we’re going to look at the jobs that are needed, and how we address that depending on what the fiscal year looks like,” Smith said.

The state pays about 70% of an educator’s salary, with local districts or charters covering the rest.

“The governor’s announcement specifically focused on those educators in schools,” said Education Secretary Mark Holodick, who chairs the pay committee. He made the salary announcements last week.

“What I would have to put thought into is, for this committee, does it make sense to start picking other employee groups that are included in this or not,” he said.

Ingram clearly didn’t think that bumping pay up for other education groups would be a financial burden to the state.

The system’s educational support professionals are a fraction of the number of educators, she said.

“As we think about pushing people outside their comfort zones, and, again, the policymakers on the call, the ones who listen to the call afterwards, I just wanted to make sure we have that information and that folks aren’t being left behind,” she said.

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Jarek Rutz

Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.

Jarek can be reached by email at or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz