May 10, 2024 - News

Georgia teacher pay rises but lags national average

Map showing average teacher salaries by U.S. state for the 2022-23 school year. The average U.S. teacher salary was $69,544. California, New York and Massachusetts had the highest average salaries at over $90,000 while salaries were lowest in West Virginia, Florida and South Dakota at around $53,000.
Data: National Education Association; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Georgia teachers made more money last year, but their salaries still lag the national average.

Why it matters: Georgia's forthcoming budget could boost average teacher wages to $67,000 annually, the Associated Press reports.

By the numbers: The average Georgia teacher made $64,461 in the 2022-23 school year, putting the state below the national average of $69,544 and 20th nationwide, according to the National Education Association.

  • That was a $2,221 increase from the previous year, or 3.6%, which was the 16th largest jump in the country. The national average increased by 4.1% during the same period.

State of play: Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed the fiscal 2025 budget, which includes raises for 300,000 teachers and other state employees beginning July 1, the AJC reports.

  • Teachers will get an additional $2,500; more than $200 million will go to student transportation; and more than $100 million will go to school security upgrades.
  • In March, Kemp put $48.4 million more into the state's pre-K program to lower class sizes, increase teacher pay, and fund projects.
  • Kemp also provided a $1,000 retention bonus to state employees, teachers and school support staff in December 2023, the AJC reports.

What they're saying: During Tuesday's signing ceremony, Kemp said Georgia has raised educator pay faster and by the most in state history because "we know just how important teachers are to preparing the next generation for success."

Yes, but: Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers, told 11Alive that more can be done to support educators.

  • "If we want the best and brightest teachers, we're going to have to pay them top salaries," Turner said.
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