Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Report: Kansas needs average teacher salary increase of almost 8 percent to match top neighbor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback discusses school finance while giving his final State of the State address Tuesday, Jan 1, 2018, on the floor of the Kansas House in Topeka, Kan. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback discusses school finance while giving his final State of the State address Tuesday, Jan 1, 2018, on the floor of the Kansas House in Topeka, Kan. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

January 12, 2018

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— In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback called for phasing in a $600 million increase in yearly public school funding over five years, and he made it clear where he wants some of that money to go.

"We should have a higher average teacher pay than any of our surrounding states," Brownback said.

According to salary surveys conducted by the National Education Association, Kansas is already part of the way toward meeting the goal, with average teacher salaries ranking third in the five-state region, and not far behind second place. However, reaching first place may be more difficult, an official with the organization said.

NEA's most recent "Rankings and Estimates" report shows that in 2016, average teacher pay in Kansas was $47,755.

That ranks 42nd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to NEA, but it is considerably better than Oklahoma, where average teacher pay is $45,276, which ranks 49th in the nation. Only Mississippi and South Dakota rank lower.

In the Lawrence school district, average teacher pay is higher than the state average, at $50,325, according to figures provided by the district.

Kansas also ranks higher than Colorado, which is 46th in the nation at $46,155.

And Kansas is only slightly behind Missouri, where average teacher pay is $47,957, which is 40th in the nation. An increase of $202 a year, or roughly a 0.4 percent pay raise, would tie Kansas with Missouri.

Nebraska, however, is currently setting the standard in the region. Average teacher pay in the Cornhusker State is $51,386, or 7.6 percent higher than Kansas. That places Nebraska 28th in the country.

But Marcus Baltzell, communications director for the Kansas NEA, said in a phone interview that it would take more than a 7.6 percent increase in average pay to achieve the top status because neighboring states have also been working to improve their teachers' pay. And in recent years, Baltzell said, they've been working harder than Kansas.

In Colorado, for example, while the 2016 average salary was relatively low, it was 3.9 percent higher than the year before.

Missouri's average salary was up 1.1 percent from the prior year, and Nebraska's was up 1.7 percent.

In Kansas, by contrast, average teacher pay in 2016 was up only 0.3 percent from the prior year.

Baltzell noted that the 2017 numbers are not yet available, and Kansas' ranking may have improved because of the nearly $200 million funding increase that lawmakers approved last year.

Comments

David Tidwell 1 week ago

Is this the best representation of salaries in Kansas? I think data on average starting teachers would be more useful. And the average starting teachers salary in Kansas is not even close to $45,000. If we are trying to attract the best teachers in the country that's what we shoud actually be focusing on.

Chloe Pratt 6 days, 8 hours ago

My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do... Click Here And Start Work

Bob Smith 6 days, 8 hours ago

Chloe is another of the lousy, rotten spammers infesting this site.

Josh Berg 6 days, 18 hours ago

It does not even say much to make us number 1 in the region because the region contains number 46, 40, 28, and 29th. Brownback wants us to essentially be best of the worst. Maybe the NEA could do something useful for once and do a study on how much teacher salaries could go up with a reduction in administrative salaries. For example, why does the new superintendent have to make above 200 K per year? Cut that in half and you could hire two more teachers or give raises to existing teachers with that money. The is one position and there are plenty more bloated salaries and positions within this district. We could also do this with several other big districts

Debbie Walburn 6 days, 10 hours ago

I agree that our teachers need to be paid more for the work that they do. But they aren't the only low paid educational employees in the state. What about the paraprofessionals that sometimes start out at minimum wage, no benefits because the district or cooperative employing them keep their hours below the minimum required to provide insurance; the custodians that work hard to keep the buildings clean and also help out with students during breakfast and lunch periods; the building secretaries that in many smaller districts also serve as the nurse for students (and at times staff); the food service personnel that make sure the students have a good meal (sometimes the only ones some students get during the day); the bus drivers that make sure your children get to school safely and back home; the board clerks and treasurers that make sure the bills and staff are paid so that the local economy is able to maintain at least a stable level? So when you start looking at raising wages, don't forget the support personnel. They are just as important to the educational process as the teachers.

Josh Berg 6 days, 7 hours ago

I could not agree with you more. You highlight another problem that even I am guilty of and that is forgetting ALL of the people who take care of the kids on a daily basis. I argue for the teachers on a usual basis but I do tend to forget people such as custodians and bus drivers. Either way the point is the same and that is there are some high paid people and that money is not trickling down the ones who really deserve it.

Laurie L Folsom 4 days, 22 hours ago

Peter, Before your readers get the impression LPS pays better than the state average, please clarify is the $50,325 figure average pre-tax income or does it include employer’s contributions to benefits and other “employment expenses?” LPS regularly cites the “total cost” of employment (including employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare plus state and federal unemployment taxes) rather than what many reasonable citizens would call their income. The difference between total cost and real income (what teachers actually have deposited in the bank accounts that they can spend on their mortgage, etc) is >6.2% (>$3,120) which leaves average LPS teacher pay at $47,204. NEA doesn’t count employer contributions to SS, Med, and unemployment in their figures.

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