MSTA's latest salary schedule and benefit report shows the average teacher salary in Missouri last year grew only 1.4 percent — the lowest since 1973-1974, when MSTA collected its earliest data.
By comparison, the inflation rate in 2004 was 2.7 percent. Teacher salaries nationally grew 2 percent. The slow growth in Missouri continues a trend from 2003, when teacher salaries increased at a rate below inflation.
The full salary schedule report is available in the salary section
of the MSTA Web site.
The report includes information on minimum and maximum salaries and the steps in between for 516 of Missouri's 524 school districts for the current school year.
The average minimum salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree in Missouri is now $26,629, and the average bachelor's maximum salary is $33,760. Both account for a 1.97 percent increase over the previous year.
Growth was slower for teachers with master's degrees. The minimum average master's salary increased 1.63 percent to $29,219; the maximum average grew 1.69 percent to $42,975.
Based on the latest salary data available from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, MSTA's research team has ranked Missouri 44th in the nation in average teacher salary; by comparison, in 2002-03, MSTA ranked the state 35th.
Missouri's estimated average salary for classroom teachers in 2003-04 was $39,827 — $534 higher than the average salary the year before.
Growth in teachers' pay has been particularly slow in smaller districts, especially those with an enrollment of fewer than 700 students. According to MSTA's salary report, "districts with fewer than 4,000 students show a sharp decline in salary schedule values."
The fringe benefit portion of the analysis shows a drop in the number of districts that pay for extra duty — from 489 in 2002-03 to 443 during the last school year. However, a few more districts paid for health insurance in 2003-04 — 507 compared to 499 the year before, as well as for dental insurance — 168 compared to 159.
The information in the salary schedule and benefit report is based on responses to MSTA's questionnaires received from 516 out of the 524 Missouri school districts. The districts that did not participate are Bunker R-3, Centerville R-1, Exeter R-6, Kansas City 33, Middle Grove C-1, Normandy, North Nodaway Co. R-6, Special School District St. Louis County and Wellston.