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First-Year Teachers In Missouri See The Smallest Salary Increase In Five Years

Elle Moxley
A fourth grade teacher in North Kansas City reviews a math problem with her students. The average teacher salary in Missouri in 2015-16 was $48,483.

Teacher pay in Missouri continues to fall short of the national average, according to a report the Missouri State Teachers Association released Monday.

“For yet another year, we’re still lagging behind 41 states,” says MSTA spokeswoman Aurora Meyer. “Missouri is ranked 42nd nationwide for average classroom teacher salary. That translates to $8,896 less dollars than the national average per year in teacher’s pockets.”

Missouri teachers made an estimated $48,483 on average during the 2014-15 school year. That’s well below the national average – more than $57,000 – but about on par with neighboring Kansas, where teachers made an average of $48,413 last year, according to the Kansas School Boards Association.

The Kansas Department of Education’s estimate is a little higher, $49,656 for 2014. That’s in line with last year’s National Education Association ranking, which put Kansas at No. 38 in teacher pay, slightly ahead of Missouri.

But averages only say so much about what teachers actually earn. Those numbers include typical career ladder advancement and pay for extra duties. New teachers typically make less.

Much less.

Meyer says the MSTA used to report the average increase in first-year teacher pay as a percent, then switched last year to actual dollars.

“You don’t pay your bills with percentages,” Meyer says. “You pay your bills with dollars.”

In 2013-2014, first-year teachers made just $466 more than first-year teachers had the year before.

This year, the increase was the smallest in five years: just $378.

“Which is less than the average of the interest on most of their student loans,” Meyer points out.

First-year teachers in Kansas City made a little more on average than educators in other parts of the state, though starting salaries were still higher in metro St. Louis.

Park Hill paid its first-year teachers the most – a minimum of $38,135 – while Lone Jack paid the least, $33,750.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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