MSTA report: Missouri lags behind in teacher salaries

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Teacher's Association says Missouri lags behind when it comes to teachers' salaries. 

The MSTA 2014-2015 Salary Schedule and Benefits report released Thursday stated Missouri ranks 41st nationwide for average classroom teacher salary. The report used data from 516 schools in Missouri provided by superintendents. 

In the central region, the five counties in central Missouri with the highest minimum teacher salaries are Miller, Camden, Cole, Boone and Morgan counties. 

"Across the board, minimum salaries for Missouri teachers with a bachelor's degree increased by a disappointing 1.45 percent this year, down slightly from the equally paltry 1.46 percent last year," said MSTA Executive Director Bruce Moe. 

MSTA spokesperson Aurora Meyer said the report is meant to provide a comparison from district to district to see what can be done to compensate teachers more fairly.

"With only a 1.45 percent increase that amounts only to $466, which for most of our teachers isn't even the interest in their student loans," Meyer said. 

Michelle Baumstark, Communications Director for Columbia Public Schools, said CPS just started contract bargaining with the teacher's union for this year. 

"In order to attract and keep high quality teachers, we have to be competitive," Baumstark said. "Columbia is the largest district in the area and the 5th largest in Missouri. We have to offer salaries that are competitive with districts of smaller size and demographics in the St. Louis or Kansas City areas in order to keep our teachers from going elsewhere."

Meyer said a potential CPS change in teacher compensation could have an effect on next year. 

"Salary freezes do play into whether or not there will be an increase in salaries, " Meyer said. "If there's a freeze in effect that would definitely change things for next year."

To view the entire MSTA report, click here.