Educators Urge State To Raise Base Teacher Pay, Which Starts At Just $25,000 A Year

Missouri ranks lowest in the nation for teacher salaries, with a new report suggesting the base teacher pay sits at just $25,000.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

National Teacher Unions Have Lost 200,000 Members

A PBS report claims that Missouri teachers’ base pay starts at just $25,000 a year. This has driven educators to push for salary increases. While other reports put the number at a higher rate, determining base teacher pay is more complicated than it seems and leading to various debates over educator salaries

A recent survey of 15,000 educators was conducted by the State Board of Education’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission. This determined various educator rankings and measured base teacher pay. The findings revealed that teachers are starting at just $25,000 per year.

That would put Missouri as the last-ranking state in the nation for base teacher pay. This abysmal report has led educators to demand higher wages. But are these numbers correct?

Missouri employs around 70,000 educators. The final report of the survey has yet to be concluded and will be released in October. Afterward, proper analysis can be more conclusive.

It is also unclear just where the educators included in the survey of their base teacher pay reside. The survey may merely poll teachers in rural areas where fewer students are served. In these locations, the cost of living is lower, and this would disproportionately affect the numbers.  

In addition, the National Education Association places Missouri base teacher pay higher than the new survey does. While the number is still low, it claims that teachers start at over $33 thousand and sets the average teacher pay in the state at over $50 thousand per year. Add in the fact that massive teacher bonuses were recently approved and the accuracy of these claims becomes even more questionable. 

The St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) recently moved to award teachers an 8% salary increase. Educators in this district make over $45,000 annually. As if that weren’t promising enough, in order to discourage teacher absenteeism, incentives for coming to work have been added and any teacher at the SLPS who maintains an attendance rate of 93% or higher will be awarded a whopping $10,000 each year. 

There is strong support for raising base teacher pay in the area. Lawmakers across the state have been discussing raising teacher pay for months now. Governor Mike Parson has offered his support to teachers proposing a $13,000 raise for those making the least.

In addition, the state is offering other alternatives like switching to the four-day school week. While Missouri’s lower pay rates may concern some outsiders, one in four of the state’s schools are operating on a four day school week. This not only cuts costs but offers educators flexibility instead of proposing unsustainable pay rates – which is a compromise that leads to lower base teacher pay while still encouraging a healthy school system. 

base teacher pay

Missouri also has the 7th lowest cost of living in the United States, so combining these different factors provides a clearer picture of local economic needs. While base teacher pay in Missouri is stirring up controversy with institutions like PBS, massive bonuses, pay raises, and alternative schedules have been added throughout the teacher shortage. Until the final report is released in October this information does not offer a conclusive look at the state’s education system, but it does insinuate that educators looking for large payouts may need to look elsewhere or work within the system to create changes.