Poll: Do You Think Teachers are Underpaid or Overpaid?

Teacher's salaries have long been debated but who's right?


According to figures recently obtained by Patch, the average projected salary for a non-administrative, certified employee in  next year is $71,352.

Certified employees include teachers, social workers and psychologists, guidance counselors, technology specialists and librarians.

Here's a further breakdown of the numbers:

Salaries for certified employees range from a low of $45,915 to a high of $83,367.

A total of 69 teachers earn more than $75,000 annually.

According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, the average salary in Connecticut is around $53,000.


Editor's note: All salary figures are based on the 2012-2013 budget. The figures do not include any additional earnings outside of base salaries.

Maura Caramanello April 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Michael, I think this poll's information is a little too leading; steering your end result. As a teacher within this distict, I am offended by this type of poll. Please keep in mind that the difference in salary you found is the difference between a first year teacher's salary and a salary at max, which takes SEVERAL years of teaching and further education to achieve. To maintain a teaching certificate, and therefore a teaching job, in the state of CT, teachers need to further our education for a Masters Degree, which most pay 100 percent out of pocket. Also, to achieve the highest salary you calculated, teachers need to further receive a Sixth Year Degree, again also out of our own pockets. I ask you, according to the CT Department of Labor, what is the average salary in CT for a profession in which you need to acquire and maintain such education? Please put us in the right category.
Michael Hayes (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Hi Maura Thanks for the comment. I am fully aware of the difference between a starting teacher's salary and the higher salaries, which require both tenure and additional education. The average salary was calculated using all of the certified employees in the district, the majority of which are teachers. You make a good point that the list doesn't include the amount teacher's pay out of pocket for that additional education, but it also does not include benefits, pension or any stipends or additional payments teachers are allowed.
Lucy Petrella April 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM
I agree with Maura. It took me 20 YEARS to reach the maximum salary in my school district. I not only had a Bachelor's degree, but a Master's and, 30+ credits beyond a master's degree - a sixth year, paid for 100% out of my pocket! The largest raise I ever received in my career was $1,800! A recent article in the Middletown Press details LONGEVITY payments to top paid state workers exceeding $6,000!! These are given twice a year to boot! These state longevity payments are NOT merit based either and start at 10 years of employment at the state!!! Teacher's don't get coffee breaks; barely get 25 minutes for lunch, which is interrupted many times by a student's needs, a parent's call, or work related questions/issues from colleagues. Once you walk into the school, you are on call 24-7. Then, when the day is done, most teachers stay after school and bring work home. You can't judge a career until you've been there and done it. There's much, much more to teaching than meets the eye.
Lucy Petrella April 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Michael, it may not include benefits, but if you do include benefits, pensions, stipends you also need to include how much teachers pay into those benefits as well. Also, all of those benefits and stipends do NOT go towards a teacher's pension amount, only their salaries do. Also remember that in order for a teacher to get full pension benefits, which they contribute over 6% per paycheck for, they have to work 35 YEARS!!! - not 20 or 25 like state workers. As I said, there's a lot more to this story than meets the eye.
Al April 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM
And yet, there is a reason people are lining up t and will kill for these coveted jobs. Security, retirement, generous benefits, minimal accountability with union protection, unmatched working hours and time off. We all pay for our own educations-don't be cry babies.
Tina Hurlbert April 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Nobody's being a crybaby, 'Al'. To put it in perspective, let's look at the salaries of folks who are also required a Bachelor's Degree and are required a Master's degree and Certification in order to be hired. Nobody's crying about spending the money on our own education - it was a choice to do so. But let's compare and judge in context, shall we?
Concerned April 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM
It is a dilemma...but with no real accountability and guaranteed raises. The best teachers get the same raises as the extremly poor teachers. What about the students who slip through the cracks - those who graduate and then require remedial math/english if they attend our community colleges? The fact that the budget is going up at a time when enrollments are dropping point to a systemic problem within the district.
Maura Caramanello April 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Tree Squirrel: it is this very last comment that is what is problematic in our district. The poll at hand is about teachers' salaries, not our district's current budget. Each year, voters turn out thinking that voting no will hurt the teachers' salaries. The budget will not address that; the current education reform will address that. There are very few teachers out there who would not agree with you that there needs to be some sort of reform regarding tenure, just not the one at hand. Please let's not confuse the budget and teachers salaries again this year. In fact, I encourage all parents, especially those of incoming kindergartens, such as myself, to get out and vote YES to this year's budget so that all day kindergarten will get passed. Voting no just gets programs cut for our children, not punish teachers' salaries.
Matt April 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Michael, I just do not see what the purpose or point of this survey is. Is there nothing else to report on? Teachers are under attack on so many fronts right now - and yes they are underpaid as someone stated above when you compare to the salaries of other jobs that require a Masters Degree and/or beyond. It is becoming a thankless profession. The superintendent has already felt the need to open every meeting with "the bulk of the increase is salaries and benefits" leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth without quantifying how the teachers have worked 2 years now without a cost of living or salary step increase and the cost of their insurance has gone up. That is not flat lining - that is a pay cut. and now that they are finally getting a small increase we have to have a poll like this surface so that everyone can have a forum to come in and freely bash and complain about the individuals who are making it possible for their kids to go to college and become successful members of society. With a budget referendum lurking in the near distance it is just awful timing and an ill informed poll to post. But hey, probably gets more website hits and attention for Patch to get everyone all fired up about this. Thank you FOX News:Patch Edition. (my new name for your site)
Michael Hayes (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Matt Thanks for your comment. The timing of the poll has only to do with my receiving the salaries of District 13 employees. It is not an attack on teachers. The numbers are presented for folks to make up their own minds.
Jeremy Renninghoff April 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM
To clarify a few points: #1: The employee's contribution to the TRB is 7.25%, 6% of which is for the pension, and 1.25% for retiree health insurance. #2: Teachers have not worked two years without raises. This current year there was no COLA and no step movement. Next year all teachers will receive 0.18% COLA and step movement, if eligible, based on years of service. Jeremy T. Renninghoff Board of Education, Regional School District #13
edmund dantes April 18, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Based upon the info at the April 11 meeting, the benefits package adds $19k per teacher. So in Durham, our cost per teacher is actually $90k each. How many Durham taxpayers, who fund this, earn pay and benefits of $90k? With summers off? In my opinion, most of the teachers I have met are worth this much. I have great respect for talented educators, they are rare. The problem is, we have too many of them, more than we can afford. As enrollments shrink, we have to cut the staffing, both of teachers and administrators. Again, per the April 11 meeting, we have one teacher for every ten students. I like small classrooms, but that is absurd.
Samuel Clemens April 18, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I know that I don't understand because my masters is not in education and my non-reimbursed CEUs to maintain my license are not in education and no one pays me to maintain a license to practice (is that like a certificate to teach?). I thought the teacher's union pressured the state to require the continuing ed, the certificate etc.. The union then requires that once an employee achieves the Master's degree, the teacher immediately gets a pay increase with no increase in responsibility or job requirements. This results in low turnover districts, like ours, to ultimately have most of the positions staffed with Master Degree teachers. Here's a solution... Let's not force teachers like Maura to have to a get a Masters Degree / 6th year certificate if they really don't want one. And let's not force school districts to staff every teaching position with Masters Degree / 6th year certificate teachers - if they don't want to. And then lets pay according to the position, not the training. Imagine using just BA and BS teachers in all day Kindergarten (day care) and in most other elementary classrooms and using PhD's in the high school science classes.
DGC3 April 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Teachers deserve to be well paid - they are performing important work with many challenges, but then again, they are well paid and you can't argue with the schedule, every conceivable holiday, every snowflake, and then there is the unbelievable job security with no accountability. Interesting to speak with teachers whose only real job has been teaching, then with teachers who have worked private sector jobs prior to getting into teaching. Those with the private sector previous occupation will tell you it's an great racket, those who have only taught will tell you it is the toughest job in the world. I believe they are fairly paid, but they sure don't have much room to complain.
Diane St John April 19, 2012 at 12:18 AM
My 3 kids have classes with 18-26 students each. Not 10. 26 small kids per teacher is a bit much in my opinion.
Rockfall Resident April 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Shouldn't look at Durham taxpayers....Should look at Durham taxpayers wit masters degrees
Lucy Petrella April 19, 2012 at 10:38 PM
DGC3 - I DID work in a private sector job before becoming a teacher - the phone company as a service rep. When I compared the hours I spent on the private sector job vs teaching, I put in MORE hours teaching!! The private sector job included a full hour for lunch; 2-15 minute coffee breaks a day; work day 9-5, Mon-Fri; 2 weeks vacation; overtime for anything over the normal work week; brought NO WORK home when I left; could leave my desk if I needed to!!!!! So, why did I go into teaching? Because that's what I love to do; not because of the money, the hours, or the working conditions. And, if I had the opportunity to do it again - I would do so in a heartbeat!
edmund dantes April 20, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Diane, I have no idea what the class sizes are. We have fewer than 2,000 students, 197 teachers. That comes to one teacher for every 10 kids. Maybe some teachers have only a few students, while others have more, I do not have that information. I will observe that in my 12 years of public school experience, my classes were always 28 -32 students, and it always felt normal to me.
Matt April 20, 2012 at 02:37 AM
edmund, you need to be careful not to look at and assume class size by dividing the 197 teacher number into 2,000 students. You would have to divide based on the number of "classroom" teachers. The 197 number aside from classroom teachers includes art, phys. ed, health, computer, tech. ed, library, band, chorus, foreign language, and special ed teachers. These teachers have no bearing on class size and including them in the equation would skew the results to look as if student to teacher ratio is much smaller in the classroom than it actually is.
edmund dantes April 20, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Matt, I see I made the mistake of dividing student population by certified personnel, which includes the librarians and psychologists. BTW, why do we need 4.9 school psychologists? I can see the need for 6 nurses, but not the psychologists. Anyway, the proper ratio is 13.8 students per teacher. Even allowing that students are not evenly distributed, that is remarkably low. BTW, there are 12 "certified personnel" in administration. These folks make in the aggregate $1.4 million. That's more than $120k each, plus the $19k in benefits. That seems really out of whack to me. Put another way, we are paying $718 per student for administration, before paying dollar one of teacher's salaries. Is that normal?
FearTheTruth April 23, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Let's see. They only work for 9 months and with the school vacations and teachers conferences you can reduce it to 8 months out of a year and they make full wages. Don't tell me they aren't overpaid. They are like politicians. Out of 100 teachers you would be lucky to find a handfull which are worth what we pay them.


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