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Missouri Teachers Among Lowest Paid In Nation

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
Hickman Mills teacher Aubrey Paine passes out worksheets to her students. Missouri ranks 43rd nationally for teacher pay.

Missouri has slipped another spot in a national ranking of teacher pay.

“Missouri teachers are earning even less compared to national average as they did last year,” Aurora Meyer, spokeswoman for the Missouri State Teachers Association, says. “Overall, Missouri dropped a spot to 43rd nationwide for average classroom teacher salary.”

The ranking is based on data from the National Education Association and the National Center for Education Statistics.

MSTA compiles its annual salary report from a survey sent to every superintendent in the state.

During the 2015-16 school year, the average Missouri teacher made $49,060. That’s $9,000 less than the national average.

New teachers made even less.

“For a teacher with less than five years experience, we suggest the starting salary be at $40,000 a year minimum,” Meyer says. “The state minimum currently is at $25,000 a year, and we do have six districts in the state that are only paying teachers the minimum.”

No Kansas City metropolitan area school district had a starting salary that low in 2015-16. Lone Jack paid first-year teachers with bachelor’s degrees $33,750.

If those same teachers were hired in Kansas City or Park Hill, they could expect to make more than $38,000.

In addition to a salary floor, most districts also have a ceiling – the maximum salary it can pay a teacher.

You can use the sortable table below to check out salary information for your district.

But even those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“A district that can’t offer a great salary might be able to offer some excellent benefits,” Meyer says. “If you can only see the salary, you’re not seeing the full picture.”

Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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