State law brings average teacher salaries over $51,000

The five-year law aimed at boosting teacher pay in Idaho has helped push average statewide salaries past $51,000 a year.

The 2019-20 average: $51,691, according to records obtained by Idaho Education News from the State Department of Education. Click here to find  average teacher salaries by district and charter as well as the salary growth over five years.

The average statewide salary is up $7,486, or nearly 17 percent, since the career-ladder salary law went into effect in 2015, when average salaries were $44,205.

The pay hikes have garnered sturdy support in the Statehouse since the law’s implementation, with K-12 state budgets — and $250 million in combined payouts tied to the law — sailing through the Legislature every year.

As a result, most districts have seen notable increases since 2015. Boise-based iSucceed Virtual Charter School led the statewide pack in terms of dollar-amount growth, with average salaries jumping from $44,775 to $64,133, a 42.3 percent increase.

Here’s a look at average salaries in some of the state’s largest districts:

  • West Ada, Idaho’s largest district, increased salaries from $46,416 in 2014-15 to $53,099 this school year, a 14.4 percent jump.
  • Average salaries in the Boise district rose from $51,649 in 2014-15 to $61,407 in 2019-20, a nearly 19 percent increase.
  • Bonneville, East Idaho’s largest school district, increased salaries from $40,165 to $48,128 since the law’s implementation, an almost 20 percent increase.
  • Salaries in the Coeur d’Alene district jumped from $49,559 in 2014-15 to $56,943 this year, a 14.9 percent hike.

A few districts saw average salaries drop. Fort Hall-based Chief Tahgee Elementary Academy’s number slipped from $48,509 in 2014-15 to $43,600 this school year.

Fluctuation is no surprise. Seventy percent of districts or charters utilize the career ladder — up from about half in 2016-17, according to an EdNews analysis.

The law also targets pay increases for teachers at earlier stages of their careers — an effort to curb attrition and attract more teachers to the field. Gov. Brad Little wants to increase starting teacher salaries to $40,000 next year — and has proposed spending $7.7 million to complete a two-year plan to boost minimum salaries.

Other takeaways from 2019-20 average teacher salaries

  • Before the career ladder, 65 districts were below $40,000. Now, only the rural Prairie Elementary District, in central Idaho, falls below that threshold, at $39,500.
  • The tiny Pleasant Valley Elementary District tallied the lowest average salary before the career ladder, at $31,750. Today, the average is $42,503, a 34 percent jump.
  • The Blaine County School District topped the average salary tally before the career ladder, at $71,646. The district’s $74,981 still leads the pack.
  • Before the career ladder, the spread from highest to lowest average salary was $39,896. Now it’s $35,481, a decrease of $4,415, or 11 percent.

Idaho EdNews data analyst Randy Schrader provided data for this story. 

More reading: Members of Gov. Brad Little’s education task force have discussed continuing the five-year plan to reward veteran teachers and the governor would like to invest $30 million into teacher salaries next year. State superintendent Sherri Ybarra has since infused $40 million in teacher pay raises to her proposed 2020-21 K-12 budget.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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