Teacher pay becomes prominent theme of this year’s budget season

St. Louis Public School teachers will soon witness a "historic" 17% pay bump over the next three years. Other districts are making similar choices.

We’re in the midst of the 2024-25 budget season and school districts are using this time to home in on a number of issues that could benefit from having more resources. According to this year’s media headlines, teacher pay is a hot topic.

School leaders in Dallas, Texas are expecting to reduce the number of central staff positions, The Dallas Morning News reports.  The 2024-25 budget is a result of enrollment declines and static state funding. Teacher pay, however, will see an increase.

The anticipated $1.9 billion budget suggests cutting nearly 75% of full-time central staff positions. As for teacher compensation, they expect to raise the minimum salary to $62,000 following last year’s $61,000 mandate.

“This is a work in progress,” Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde told the school board.

Teachers in Washington County, Virginia, are waiting for their state’s budget to be finalized, which could result in a 3% pay raise, the Bristol Herald Courier reports.

“The state budget is not complete,” Washington County Schools Superintendent Keith Perrigan said during a school board meeting on Monday. “Unless something really crazy happens, we’re guaranteed a state raise of 3 percent.”

As for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Crystal Hill, teacher pay is a top-of-mind priority.

On Tuesday, Hill discussed the district’s $1.9 billion budget during a board meeting. She plans on using $14 million to boost teacher pay, especially for those who have served in North Carolina for more than 25 years, WCNC Charlotte reports.

If things go to plan, the starting salary for teachers would increase by 4.5%. This comes after the state’s governor proposed an 18% pay raise over two years this time last year. However, that proposal was rejected by the General Assembly. They approved a 7% pay raise instead.

Other ways of improving pay

Aside from revamping school budgets to boost teacher compensation, leaders are looking to other creative solutions to support educators and help them feel revered in their profession, including those who aren’t yet full-time teachers.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro recently announced a new stipend program that would allow student teachers to receive $15,000 through the state’s Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program.

“The student-teacher support program is needed now more than ever,” Amber Bloom, vice president of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association and a student at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, told CBS News. “Student teachers often have to give up part-time jobs in order to give their student teaching the attention that it deserves.”

Providing aspiring educators a substantial stipend is a win for the profession, she added.

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Teachers at St. Louis Public Schools are about to receive a “historic” pay hike of 17% over the next three years, the largest pay bump the district’s awarded in two decades, PBS NewsHour reports.

Superintendent Keisha Scarlett said the boost will bring the average starting salary up to nearly $50,000 a year, which supersedes the state average of around $34,000. Missouri also ranks 50th in the country for average starting teacher salaries, according to a 2023 report from the National Education Association.

“Missouri has struggled in keeping up with average salaries for educators, so here at Saint Louis Public Schools, we’ve always worked to stay well ahead of statewide averages and we’ve continued this commitment with this compensation plan here,” Scarlett told PBS Newshour.

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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