Teacher Salaries in Missouri Ranked 40th
COLUMBIA - A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics found Missouri ranks 40th out of the 50 states for average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools.
The study found the average for the United States to be $56,383. Missouri's average was $47,517.
On a national scale, and in Missouri, the average salary for teachers in public schools has remained flat since 1990 (adjusted for inflation).
"Our average teacher salary, just from the teacher contract, so your 187 days of work where you're in a regular classroom with kids, that average salary is $47,695," Columbia Public Schools CFO Linda Quinley said.
In 2004, Columbia Public School (CPS) teachers were putting 11 percent of their salaries into this retirement package. Now, it's 14.5 percent.
"So the numbers suggest that teacher salaries have been fairly flat over the last 20 years," Cory Koedel, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Missouri, said. "But what that hides is that there are rising costs for teacher pension benefits and health care costs."
The average CPS teacher with a salary of roughly $47,700 will actually make about $40,700 before taxes.
Teachers making the district minimum of a little more than $34,000 will make about $28,511 before taxes. That factors out to about $2,375 per month.
"Most of our young people are working two jobs," current Columbia Missouri National Education Association president, and fifth grade teacher for CPS, Susan McClintic said. "Recently at CMNEA, we did a poll to see 50 percent of the people who responded are working a second job as a teacher."
Despite the amount of money taken from their salaries, teachers say they believe Missouri's retirement setup for teachers is one of the best.
"Our program is absolutely outstanding," McClintic said. "It is one of the true ways that we have retained people, because they see that this pension benefit is outstanding."
McClintic acknowledges that many first year teachers are working multiple jobs, but thinks in the long run, the retirement plan for the state will pay off.