KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- State educators say that Missouri teachers are underpaid, and they want to do something about it. While it's difficult to determine exactly what school districts are paying teachers, GlassDoor, which collects salary information, says Kansas City educators are making anywhere from $32,000 to $55,000 a year, well below the national average.
The National Education Association ranks Missouri at 43rd in the nation with an average teacher pay of $49,304 a year. Kansas is not a lot better at $49,754, which ranks 41st.
Neighboring states Iowa and Nebraska offer up to $8,000 more a year, giving them an edge when it comes to recruiting teaching talent from area colleges.
The Missouri State Board of Education wants to change that. Last week, members voted unanimously to lobby state lawmakers to put together a joint committee in 2020 to investigate this issue.
They made the following recommendations. First, they want to raise the minimum starting teacher salary from $25,000 to $32,000. Missouri currently ranks dead last in minimum starting salary for our region, so this would help.
Then they want to give every teacher a $4,000 raise, which would make Missouri more competitive with other states.
Finally, they want the state to put aside a pool of money districts can tap into to recruit hard-to-hire teaching positions, like special education teachers.
They believe these three things will make Missouri more competitive in hiring teachers.
The big sticking point will be the price tag; it'll cost around $400 million to pay for all these raises. But state educators hope state lawmakers make this a priority and find the money to make this happen.