May 16, 2024 - News

Utah teacher salaries fall below 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

Utah ranked 23rd in the nation for average teacher salary during the 2022-23 school year, according to a study by the National Education Association, the country's largest teacher's union.

Why it matters: Pay for teachers has not kept up with inflation, per the report, despite educators' outsized roles in helping shape the lives of students.

  • Utah was also ranked second-to-last in per-pupil spending.

By numbers: Average salaries for Utah teachers rose from $59,671 to $63,481 — a 6.4% increase — between the 2021-22 and 2022-2023 school years.

  • However, that's still below the living wage needed in the state for one child and one adult.

Zoom out: The average teacher salary in 2022-23 was $69,544 nationally, almost 9% above Utah's average salary.

Between the lines: When it comes to starting teacher pay, Utah is a lot more competitive than the rest of the nation.

  • The state ranked 10th in the U.S. at $49,555.

Context: The Republican-dominated Utah Legislature last year passed a measure to give teachers $6,000 raises.

Yes, but: It was controversially tied to the creation of a school voucher program.

  • The legislation drew scrutiny from Democrats, the Utah Education Association and children's advocates for directing funding away from the public education system.

What we're watching: Legislative auditors expressed concerns this week over legislation that aims to improve retention among Utah teachers.

  • The law, slated to take effect July 1, creates a compensation program that allows top-performing teachers to receive bonuses.
  • Auditors said it could be difficult to identify educators that merit higher compensation because evaluations are not uniform across schools.
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