5 things to know about how teachers are paid

Dozens of local school districts are currently negotiating new contracts with their teachers unions, bringing discussions of teacher pay back to the forefront.

Each school district negotiates separately with its teachers to decide on a salary chart based on teachers’ education level and years of experience. That means two similar teachers can make dramatically different amounts of money depending on where they work.

Here are five things to know about teacher pay in the Miami Valley, from our April 2016 data.

1. How much did teachers make last year if they started right out of college with a bachelor's degree? As little as $30,583 in Jefferson Twp. or $32,001 in Tecumseh. But as much as $43,788 at the Miami Valley Career Tech Center or $45,000 at Oakwood, which has a different salary system. The median number was $36,422, with Valley View, Troy, Newton, Huber Heights and Springboro all right around that number. Jefferson has since ratified a new contract, and its salaries are still low, but not at the very bottom.

2. But starting salary isn't everything … how quickly do salaries rise as teachers gain experience? Beavercreek's starting salary is below the regional average, but teachers with only a bachelor's degree would see their salary shoot up 52 percent by their 10th year, reaching $54,349, seventh-highest in the area. Kettering teachers also see a rise of more than 50 percent in the first 10 years, to $55,747. Meanwhile in Greenon, teachers with only a bachelor's degree would see their salary rise only 16 percent from Year 1 to Year 10, reaching $42,642.

3. How much difference does it make to have a master's degree? If you're teaching in Vandalia-Butler, Trotwood or Mad River, not much. In those districts, a 10th-year teacher with a master's degree makes $3,700 to $3,900 more than a teacher with just a bachelor's. Most local districts pay about a $5,000 to $6,000 premium for a master's degree by the 10th year. Troy City Schools are on the other end of the spectrum, paying that 10th-year teacher with a master's almost $10,000 more per year than a 10th-year teacher with a bachelor's degree.

4. How wide is the spread between the highest-paying local schools and the lowest payers? Again, using 2016 data, let's look at master's degree teachers that have maxed out on years of experience. In Centerville, that teacher would have earned $90,772, far and away the area's highest. At both Beavercreek and the Miami Valley Career Tech Center, that salary would be about $85,800. The lowest last year was Jefferson Twp., also by a wide margin at $55,067. Jefferson's new contract for this year raises that number by $5,000, to $60,036 … and that's still lowest in the area, behind Greeneview's $61,466. So the gap from top to bottom is roughly $30,000 per year. The median for this fully experienced teacher with a master's degree was about $74,000.

5. Why does it pay for teachers to stay in one school district? In most school districts, teachers get raises for each additional year of experience, up through about 15 years. After that, they may get an experience raise every few years. But most school districts have a rule that new teachers being hired from outside the district start out with no more than 7 or 10 years of experience credit, even if they've actually been teaching much longer than that.

For frequent stories on local schools, follow Jeremy Kelley DDN on Facebook and Twitter.

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