See Where Teachers Got Pay Raises This Year

See Where Teachers Got Pay Raises

More than a year after teachers across the country began walking out of their classrooms en masse to demand higher salaries, at least 15 states have given their teachers a raise.

And lawmakers in several more states are putting the final touches on plans to raise teacher salaries, according to an Education Week analysis.

Earlier this year, Education Week counted 22 governors who proposed raising teacher pay in their State of the State addresses. The proposals ranged from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s ambitious plan to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 to Delaware Gov. John Carney’s proposal of a 2 percent raise. Other governors, such as in Idaho and Pennsylvania, have proposed increasing their state’s minimum pay for teachers.

Now that the legislative sessions are largely over, most governors have seen their plans fully or partially realized. But there have been some snafus: For instance, because of a computer glitch, Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a budget that didn’t include enough money for the $1,500 raises the state promised its teachers this fall.

And the new money approved by governors in many cases now is negotiable with local unions. Already, teachers in Fargo, N.D., and Brevard, Fla., are at an impasse with their administrators over who will get raises this year and how much those raises will be.

For their part, teachers have mostly welcomed the raises, but some have said the increases don’t go far enough, especially after what they see as years of legislative inaction.

“It’s a great start, but they’re going to have to continue to come up with more in the next several years,” Lisa Ellis, a high school journalism teacher in Blythewood, S.C., and the founder of the grassroots teachers’ group, SCforED, said of the state’s plan to raise teacher pay. “Teachers are now awake and watching.”

Here’s what you need to know about each state’s plan (as of June 17) to raise teacher pay. (The average teacher salary for each state reflects the National Education Association’s estimate for the 2018-19 school year, which would not include these raises.)

                                                                                                          



ALABAMA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Kay Ivey proposed to raise teachers’ pay statewide by 4 percent, which she estimated would cost about $140 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state legislature sent to Gov. Ivey’s desk a proposal that would raise the state’s base pay from $39,301 a year to $40,873. A teacher with a master’s degree and more than 15 years experience would see his or her salary increase from $54,762 to $56,952.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: The state’s teachers searching for their third pay raise in 11 years were competing with a host of other priorities in the state, including an effort to expand pre-K classes, expand charter schools, and pay down rising healthcare costs. Most upset about this year’s budget were the state’s teacher retirees who have not gotten a cost-of-living adjustment since 2007 and won’t get one this year.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $50,810

ARIZONA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, in the wake of widespread protests over school funding, promised teachers that he would raise the state’s average teacher pay by 20 percent by 2020. He proposed implementing the second phase of that budget this year, increasing teacher pay by 5 percent to $55,361.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature approved an $11.8 billion budget that includes the second of the three phases of the “20 by 2020 plan.”

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Hundreds of teachers protested this year’s budget because of the $386 million in tax and fee cuts the state approved along with the pay increase. Teachers said there are a litany of other needs in the state’s public schools that money could’ve gone toward.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $49,892

ARKANSAS

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson proposed increasing the state’s minimum pay by $4,000 over the next four years.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature sent to the governor the “Teacher Salary Enhancement Act,” which would increase the state’s minimum pay for teachers by $1,000 each of the next four years, from $31,400 to $36,000.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: While the law will impact a handful of teachers spread out through three-fourths of the state’s districts, many teachers say it won’t make pay competitive with neighboring Oklahoma, which, after a statewide teacher strike, raised its pay scale for all its teachers.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $51,019

DELAWARE

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. John Carney proposed in his budget to increase teachers’ pay by 2 percent.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state’s general assembly sent to the governor’s desk a $4.4 billion budget that included a $1,000 increase for all state employees and a 2 percent raise for teachers.

STATUS: On the governor’s desk.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: While the state’s general assembly debated next year’s budget, a video of a high school teacher listing all of the school supplies she pays for out of pocket went viral. Included on her list: art supplies, erasers, a pencil sharpener, reams of paper, sneakers, and football cleats.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $62,308

FLORIDA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year proposed giving teachers merit-based bonuses up to $10,000.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state’s legislature approved a $480 million package that will allow for every teacher in the state to receive a $2,000 raise, regardless of performance.

STATUS: On the governor’s desk.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: While the state will provide districts with the cash for raises, it’s up to superintendents and their local unions to determine whether and how to distribute the raises. Already, the superintendent of Brevard County schools has said he won’t give teachers the $2,300 they’ve demanded, sparking widespread protests. He says the district can only afford to give highly effective teachers $770 annual raises.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $48,395

GEORGIA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp proposed that all of the state’s teachers get a $3,000 raise.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state’s legislature sent to the governor’s desk a $27.5 billion budget that included enough money for districts to provide $3,000 for every teacher.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Kemp on the campaign trail last year promised to give teachers a $5,000 pay raise, but, after looking at this year’s budget, lowered his expectations. After the budget was passed, there was widespread confusion across the state as to whether teachers would get the raises. Many superintendents said they’d spend the extra money on other obligations.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $57,137

IDAHO

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Brad Little said in his State of the State address that he wanted to raise the state’s minimum teacher salary to $40,000.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state legislature passed a bill that would increase the teachers’ minimum wage from $35,800 to $38,500 next year and $40,000 the following year. It will cost the state more than $10 million.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: In an unusual move, the state decided to give its school administrators a 3 percent raise. The state has one of the lowest per-pupil spending levels in the country.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $50,757

INDIANA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb wanted to pay down districts’ pension debt to free up more than $572 million for districts to provide teachers with pay increases.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature sent to the governor’s desk a budget that paid down $150 million of districts’ pension debt, significantly less than what Holcomb proposed.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Holcomb set up a commission to study ways to increase the state’s average teacher pay, but the commission has been criticized by teachers for meeting in private, not having any members who are teachers, and saying it won’t come up with a proposal until the summer of 2020.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $50,937

LOUISIANA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. John Bell Edwards proposed to provide each of the state’s teachers with a $1,000 pay raise.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature proposed a bill to provide teachers with a $1,000 pay raise.

STATUS: On the governor’s desk.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: The legislature and the governor couldn’t agree on whether the state can afford to increase its school funding and provide teachers with a recurring pay raise. Teachers have held rallies at the capitol with the governor over his proposal. Support staff, under the legislation, got a $500 raise.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $50,923

MAINE

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. Janet Mills proposed to raise the state’s minimum wage to $40,000, up from $30,000, which she estimated would cost the state about $10 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature crafted a bill that would require the state to pay for 100 percent of the costs to raise the minimum wage to $40,000 this fall, 66 percent of the costs in the 2021 school year, and 33 percent of the costs in 2022. School districts will have to cover the rest of the costs.

STATUS: Still in the legislature.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: This proposal is in the middle of an entrenched debate at the statehouse over how to increase spending without raising taxes. Teacher activists have pushed to raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $54,974

MISSISSIPPI

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Phil Bryant proposed teachers in the state get a $3,000 raise. He estimated that it would cost the state about $50 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state’s legislature sent to the governor’s desk a bill that would provide teachers with a $1,500 raise.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Because of a calculation error made when crafting the budget, the state, in fact, can’t afford to give all of its teachers the $1,500 raise this year. State officials have told districts to give teachers the raise anyway and that the legislature will fix the miscalculation during next year’s session.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $45,574

NEVADA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak asked the legislature to fund a 3 percent pay raise for teachers, which would cost $89.4 million in fiscal year 2020 and $91.2 million in fiscal year 2021.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state legislature agreed to pass a 3 percent pay raise.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Teachers in the Clark County school district, which includes Las Vegas and is the nation’s fifth-largest school system, are planning to strike in the fall if they don’t see the salary increase reflected in their paychecks or if the district makes any additional cuts to classrooms.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $54,280

NEW MEXICO

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham proposed a 6 percent across-the-board raise for teachers. She also wanted to raise the minimum salaries for every level of educators by at least 10 percent, for a total cost of $194 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: In a bipartisan agreement, the state legislature gave a 6 percent raise for all school staff, from principals to cafeteria workers. The state also raised minimum salaries for teachers at all three levels of licensure—for beginning teachers, the base increased from $36,000 to $40,000; for level two teachers, from $44,000 to $50,000; and for level three teachers from $54,000 to $60,000.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: A state court had ruled last year that New Mexico has violated students’ constitutional rights to an adequate education. The judge ordered the state to provide more funding to schools, especially for at-risk students. Legislators have said the increase in education funding passed this year is the first step in a multi-year effort to improve education in the state.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $47,826

NORTH CAROLINA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper proposed a 9.1 percent pay raise for teachers over two years, for a total cost of $199 million in fiscal year 2019-20 and $370 million in fiscal year 2020-21.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: So far, Republican state Senate leaders have proposed an education spending plan that would give teachers an average 3.5 percent raise over two years, and the Republican-controlled state House would give teachers about a 4.6 percent pay raise next year.

STATUS: Still in the legislature.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: State Republican lawmakers have pointed to the fact that under their leadership, teachers have received pay raises every year since 2014. Still, thousands of North Carolina teachers walked out of their classrooms in May, for the second time in two years, to call for more school funding and higher pay. About three dozen school districts, including the state’s five largest, canceled classes due to the protest.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $53,975

NORTH DAKOTA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Doug Burgum proposed to increase the education budget by 2 percent, or $62 million, which he said would inevitably result in a teacher pay raise.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature approved an increase in its biennial education budget by 2 percent.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Fargo’s school district, one of the largest in the state, is at an impasse with its teachers’ union over school safety and the starting salary of teachers. The negotiations, which have been especially emotional, will resume in the fall.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $53,434

OKLAHOMA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt proposed a $1,200 teacher pay raise, for a total cost of about $60 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature passed an average $1,220 salary increase for districts that are on the state funding formula, which amounts to 97 percent of Oklahoma’s public school teachers.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: This deal marked the first time in Oklahoma history that teachers received a pay raise for two consecutive years. Before last year, when teachers across the state walked out of their classrooms in protest of low wages, the state hadn’t passed a teacher pay raise in a decade.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $52,412

PENNSYLVANIA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf proposed setting a statewide minimum teacher salary of $45,000. That change would cost the state about $14 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: Legislators have expressed skepticism about the proposal, preferring to leave that decision up to individual school districts.

STATUS: Still in the legislature.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: The state hasn’t increased the minimum teacher salary in three decades—it’s currently set at $18,500. Nobody makes the minimum, but there are about 3,200 educators who make less than $45,000, according to the state’s education department.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $68,141

SOUTH CAROLINA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Henry McMaster proposed a 5 percent teacher pay raise, for a total cost of $155 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: Legislators dedicated nearly $160 million to teachers’ raises. They raised teachers’ starting pay from $32,000 to $35,000, and gave an across-the-board 4 percent pay raise. Teachers with fewer than five years of experience will receive an up to 10 percent raise, in an attempt to keep more teachers in the classroom.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: The grassroots teachers’ group SCforED had called for a 10 percent across-the-board raise for all teachers. Several thousand teachers protested low wages and cuts to education funding at the state Capitol in May, forcing a handful of school districts to close.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $50,395

TENNESSEE

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Bill Lee proposed a 2.5 percent teacher pay raise, for a total cost of $71.3 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state legislature agreed to fund the 2.5 percent teacher pay raise.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Tennessee leaders have been gradually raising teacher pay over recent years, but a recent report from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury found that the extra money has not always been making it into teachers’ paychecks. Districts also spend the money on adding new instructional positions or hiring more support staff.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $51,714

TEXAS

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott suggested raising pay through a performance-based system, in the hopes that it would create a pathway for the state’s top teachers to earn a six-figure salary.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: Legislators ultimately agreed to increase the pot for teacher salaries by about $2 billion. The exact amount each teacher will receive will vary from district to district, but lawmakers said the raises will amount to about $4,000 for veteran teachers. The school finance bill also includes money for districts that want to start merit pay programs, so high-rated teachers could receive a bonus of several thousand dollars.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: The establishment of the optional merit pay program was controversial, with the teachers’ unions pushing back against tying a teacher’s salary to their students’ performance on a standardized test. Ultimately, legislators did not require districts to use standardized testing results to decide which teachers will receive bonuses.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $54,155

VIRGINIA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam proposed an additional 2 percent teacher pay raise, on top of an already-approved 3 percent raise, for a cost of $88 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The legislature agreed to fund a total 5 percent raise.

STATUS: Signed by the governor.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: The total 5 percent pay raise is the largest raise for Virginia teachers in a single year in 15 years. In January, about 2,500 teachers and other supporters marched to the state Capitolto demand higher pay and more money for public schools.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $52,466

WEST VIRGINIA

GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Jim Justice proposed a 5 percent pay raise for teachers, for a total cost of $67.7 million.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION: The state Senate has passed an education reform bill that includes the 5 percent teacher pay raise—but also includes provisions that many teachers are unhappy with, such as the ability to open public charter schools in the state.

STATUS: Still in the legislature.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW: Teachers, who successfully went on strike last year for a pay raise, went on a shorter strike again earlier this year to protest against the school choice measures that were up for consideration.

AVERAGE TEACHER PAY: $47,681

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