CHAPEL HILL – A stipulation included in the recently released NC Senate budget calls for eliminating salary bonuses for incoming teachers with a master’s degree—proposed to go into effect by the 2014 school year. Some fear this will negatively impact school system’s efforts to attract and keep instructors.

“We were very surprised that the provision came out as a part of the budget proposal. We hope that it won’t stay in it because it’s negative and it goes backwards for a few reasons,” said Jeff Nash, the executive director of community relations for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

The measure would take away the current 10 to 15 percent pay increase for a qualified teacher. Instructors currently getting the bonus would not be affected.

“Those teachers who have master’s degree are of course are highly recruited,” Nash said. “They’re not going to want to come here if they aren’t recognized for that extra work that they have put in.”

Nash says the CHCCS System relies on recruiting teachers from out-of-state because there’s a shortage of teachers with in the state.

He fears it may also hinder the recruitment of young teachers who have just graduated from a master’s program.

This provision is just one of many that educators have said is threatening the education system in North Carolina. Other reforms currently moving through the legislature are seeking to eliminate teach tenure and boost funding for private school tuition vouchers. Some argue that this will deplete money allotted to public schools.

“We work hard to make sure that teaching is considered a profession. When they are not encouraged to go back and earn a master’s degree or a doctorate degree, that takes away from the level of professionalism that we want to see to in this field,” Nash said. “We think folks will also pursue master’s degree whether or not they are paid for it in their field. The scary part is, though, that they may pursue master’s degrees in other fields.”

Nash hopes for the provision to be dropped from the final budget—the House of Representatives is now working on its version of the budget.