Teacher salaries fall

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COLUMBIA - Teachers in Missouri will remain some of the lowest-paid educators in the country in 2017.

According to the 2016-2017 Missouri State Teachers Association Salary Schedule and Benefits Report, which surveyed all 518 Missouri school districts based on salaries, the average salary for teachers in Missouri fell from 42nd to 43rd in the nation. 

While teacher salaries have increased a bit over the past few years, they are not increasing at the same rate as other states. 

Aurora Meyer, a spokesperson for MSTA, said many Missouri teachers take second jobs because their pay just doesn't cover their expenses, which for many includes student loans.

"The state minimum for teacher salaries is $25,000 per year, and six districts in the state pay that minimum," said Meyer.

She added it's up to the districts what they pay their teachers. This means more funding for a district yields higher pay for teachers.

The lowest paying district in Boone County is Sturgeon, paying $29,580 per year, which isn't much more than the state minimum. Columbia's beginning teacher salary is $35,500. 

"At our annual convention in November, our delegates passed a minimum salary suggestion of $40,000 a year for our teachers," said Meyer.

The suggestion is merely a show of support for higher salaries for teachers.

Meyer said educators are working hard for their students, and the state has to reciprocate.

"Missouri must do better to reward the time, energy and dedication that our teachers put in the classroom everyday. They're teaching our future," said Meyer.