TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas ranks in the bottom third for teacher salaries nationwide and average pay by district ranges from $41,318 to $74,989, according to government records.
In 2021, Kansas ranked 36th in the nation for public school salaries with an average public school salary of $53,932 — or $11,158 less than the nation’s average, according to the Kansas Department of Education.
Some of the higher-paying districts in Kansas include Shawnee Mission, Olathe and Lawrence which offer salaries over $60,000 per year, according to govsalaries.com.
The districts with higher pay tend to be in more affluent areas of Kansas with higher property values and tax revenues, KSNT reports. Shawnee Mission, for example, has the highest school district value at $4,964,775,892 and some of the most expensive property values in the state.
The highest-paying school district in Kansas was Olathe Public Schools Unified District 233. The value of District 233 was $3,120,470,416, according to the 2022 school district value report from ksrevenue.gov. The highest-paying position at Olathe Public Schools was Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager who took home $276,200 in 2022.
The lowest-paying Kansas school district was Triplains Unified School District 275. The total value of District 275 was $26,759,123, according to the 2022 school district value report. The highest-paying position for District 275 was the sole administrator, superintendent and K-12 Principal Lamar Bergsten, who earned an annual wage of $91,802 in 2022.
“There’s such a teacher shortage we’re lucky to just get applications for any positions,” Bergsten said. “It used to be just for math. It’s very challenging to find teachers… It’s definitely a struggle.”
The Triplains Unified School District is located in rural Northwest Kansas. The school has a total of 68 students with 11 to 13 teachers. Bergsten said the benefit of having such a small district is a stronger student-to-teacher ratio than most larger districts.
“When the neighboring district calls your teacher directly and offers them a job, it’s tough,” Bergsten said regarding a teacher who left the Triplanes District after being offered a job from a neighboring district.
“Finding applicants. Half of those twelve (teachers) are graduates from here, that’s our best situation; when we can hire a person who has connections to our community already through marriage or growing up here.”
A benefit to being from a smaller district, the Triplains District had nearly double the per pupil expenditure over the Shawnee Mission School District in the 2020-2021 school year. Bergsten said another advantage to the district was a highly competitive teacher benefits program.
Highest average salary school districts in Kansas, according to govsalaries.com:
- Olathe Public Schools Unified School District 233 – $74,989
- Jefferson West Unified School District 340 – $74,285
- Shawnee Mission School District – $72,636
- Haysville Unified School District 261- $71,793
- Pratt Unified School District 382 – $70,798
- Piper Kansas City School District – $69,849
- Wichita Public Schools – $69,834
- Chanute Public Schools – $69,420
- Hays Unified School District 489 – $67,857
- Coffeyville Schools Unified School District – $68,689
Lowest average salary school districts in Kansas:
- Triplains Unified School District 275 – $41,318
- Northern Valley Schools Unified School District – $42,395
- Grinnell Schools Unified School District 291 – $42,681
- Brewster Unified School District 314 – $43,059
- Palco Unified School District – $44,148
- Haviland Unified School District 474 – $44,290
- Hamilton Unified School District 390 – $44,080
- Paradise Unified School District 399 – $45,704
- Healy Public Schools – Median Salary $45,823
- Pike Valley Unified School District 426 – $47,116