RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An annual public school teacher pay and spending review shows North Carolina improving while still behind national averages for both.

The National Education Association released figures Monday with North Carolina ranked 39th in average teacher pay during the 2016-17 school year at just under $50,000. The state was 41st the previous year. On per-pupil spending, North Carolina was 39th compared to 42nd the year before.

The NEA also estimates North Carolina moving to 37th in pay this year at $50,861 but still 39th in spending.

The legislature increased pay annually in recent years, after rankings fell during the Great Recession. The North Carolina Association of Educators called the rankings “lackluster,” pointing out pay fell 9 percent over the past decade when accounting for inflation.

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