Saturday, April 11, 2015

Some context on teacher pay

OCPA research fellow Steve Anderson is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience in private practice. He spent two years as a budget analyst in the Oklahoma Office of State Finance and recently served as budget director for the State of Kansas. Recently in The Oklahoman, Anderson said that policymakers need to have a complete, accurate picture before making decisions about teacher compensation.

And in today's newspaper, The Oklahoman's editorial board provides some more helpful context. "Much is made of Oklahoma’s low ranking for average teacher pay," The Oklahoman points out. "Yet new data from the Internal Revenue Service suggest many people across Oklahoma would likely be glad to swap incomes with those teachers.
Oklahoma’s average teacher salary is $44,128. IRS data show that the average income in 32 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties is less than $44,000. In Marshall County, the average income is $43,534. The lowest average income recorded is in Adair County ($31,347). The highest average income was recorded in Grant County ($86,864). But that high number, nearly double the amount notched in Grant County in 2009, was tied mostly to oil-field work. Teachers work hard, but oil-field work is not exactly for slackers. And that work is prone to boom and bust cycles, as many are experiencing today. This doesn’t mean some teachers don’t deserve more. It just shows that many Oklahomans are in the same boat.

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