Now that we know how teacher salaries compare to the folks whose children they teach, let’s take a look at how teacher salaries have (or have not) grown over the past five years.
We know that the entire country has suffered through a significant recession, resulting in collections in the Education Trust Fund (ETF) taking a hit.
Lowered collections in the ETF mean fewer state dollars to allocate to public education.
The chart below is a look at the money that has come in to the ETF through FY13. “Nominal $” are the actual dollar amounts reported as collected. Click “Real $2009” to view the chart in constant dollars, which is the best way to compare dollars over time.
[See this post for more information for an historical look at the dollars collected and invested in public education in Alabama.]
Here’s a chart depicting median family income in Alabama over the past five years.
In plain terms, things haven’t been good in the income department for many folks in Alabama since 2008.
Public education employees received a 2% raise in FY14, after waiting six years for any raise at all. Many said that raise wasn’t even enough to cover the increased costs of health insurance.
Average Teacher Salaries by District – 2009 to 2015
Data provided by the Alabama State Department of Education show that average teacher salary across the state declined by 7.3% from FY09 to FY15.
The 2% raise in FY14 actually amounted to 0.3% in constant dollars.
The table and charts are below, but before you view the numbers, it is important to state the inherent problems with using an average of teacher salaries across a district as a basis for comparison.
First, know that the data here are for certificated teachers only.
Second, because teachers are paid based on a step-raise schedule (meaning the more experience a teacher has, the higher the possible pay) and are also paid more when they a higher degree, a higher average salary per district could simply mean there is more experience and a more degreed teacher population.
Conversely, a lower average teacher salary from one year to the next could simply mean that teachers with more experience retired or a new group of teachers were hired.
One would need to look at the matrix of experience and degree earned for each district and factor that in to these calculations to be scientifically accurate. Scientific accuracy is not the goal here.
These numbers are a place to start a discussion about teacher salaries in Alabama. Without the basic information about what has happened with teacher salaries over the past seven years, any discussion of teacher salaries is not based on facts.
Here are the facts. Draw your own conclusions.
The average salary amounts were “deflated” using the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for state government expenditures. There are a lot of ways to make dollars “constant”, and thus comparable over time, and for this article, the IPD was used.
The previous article comparing teacher salaries to median family income utilized the Census Bureau’s CPI-U-RS, a specialized method to adjust for inflation in 2013 dollars.
Today’s article turned all dollars into 2009 dollars.