May 16, 2024 - News

San Francisco teachers still fighting for higher pay

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

California teachers have the highest salaries in the country, yet many still struggle financially.

Why it matters: Teachers and their unions say they are fighting for better pay to keep up with inflation and alleviate chronic staffing shortages, particularly in areas with expensive housing, like San Francisco.

The big picture: Despite record salary increases in some states, U.S. teachers average making about 5% less than 10 years ago, adjusted for inflation, according to a new National Education Association report.

By the numbers: The average California teacher salary in the 2022-23 academic year was $95,160, up 7.5% from the previous year.

  • That pushed their pay above New York and Massachusetts teachers, whose salaries are also far above the $69,544 national average.

Reality check: Residents need to make more than $400,000 to afford the mortgage on a median-priced, San Francisco-area home.

  • The lack of affordable housing has led many Bay Area school districts to invest in teacher housing projects — San Francisco's first affordable housing development for educators is set to open this fall.
  • The union representing San Francisco public school employees also reached a deal with the district in October after threatening to strike over salary concerns and working conditions.

What to watch: Facing a dire budget crisis, San Francisco's public school district said last week that it no longer has full control over its spending after California's superintendent of public instruction outsourced the authority to suspend or reverse financial decisions.

  • United Educators of San Francisco, which represents over 6,5000 employees, has condemned the intervention and accused the California Department of Education of pressuring management to lay off teachers against students' best interests.
  • The San Francisco Unified School District would need to lay off over 300 employees by the end of the month and enact its school closure plan to address its $420 million budget deficit next year, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
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