RD626 - Biennial Review of the Compensation of Teachers and Other Occupations Requiring Similar Education and Training – 2017

Executive Summary:

Beginning Teacher Salaries

In the 2016-2017 school year, the average entry-level salary for Virginia public school teachers was $40,126.  The Virginia entry-level teacher salary was 5.1% below the entry-level salary of private and state jobs requiring similar education and training.  When adjusted to reflect the actual number of days worked annually (200 for teachers and 234 for private sector employees); the entry-level salary for Virginia public school teachers is 11.3% above that of private industry.

Entry-level salaries for teachers are 31.6% higher than salaries for comparable state positions.  When adjusted to reflect the actual number of days worked annually (200 for teachers, 234 for state employees), the entry-level salary for Virginia public school teachers is 53.9% above that of comparable state employees.

Average Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, Virginia’s average salary for public school teachers was $50,620 in 2014-2015, and this ranked Virginia as 30th among 50 states and the District of Columbia for that year.  The national average was $57,420. The average public school teacher salary in Virginia ranked third among 12 states in the southeastern United States in 2014-2015.  The Virginia average was 4.5% higher than the southeastern states’ average and 88.2% of the national average.

Among Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) member states, the average Virginia teacher salary was $50,620 in 2014-2015, ranking it 6th among the organization’s 16 member states.  Virginia’s average was 1.0% higher than the member states’ average of $50,113. Since 2006-2007, Virginia ranked 48th among the 50 states with an eight-year overall increase of 3.03%.  The comparable U.S. average increase was 12.57%.

The Virginia teacher salary in 2016-2017 was $56,148.  The 2016-2017 average is 2.2% above the average salary of private and state journey-level jobs requiring similar education and training, $54,948.  If the salary data are adjusted to reflect the difference in days worked, the average salary for Virginia’s public school teachers ($56,148) is 19.5% above the adjusted average entry-level salary in the private sector ($46,981).

Final decisions on increases to teacher salaries are made by localities.  Average budgeted salaries for the 2016-2017 school year ranged from a high of $89,313 for Thomas Jefferson High School to a low of $30,549 for the Project Bridge of Russell County.  Among the cities and counties, the highest budgeted average in 2016-2017 was $79,542 in Arlington County, while the lowest was $32,791 in Halifax County.

Actions Taken to Improve Teacher Salaries

Local school boards engaged in a variety of initiatives aimed at increasing teacher pay.  In 2016-2017, most jurisdictions reported increases for their teachers’ salaries. However, 23 school divisions planned no salary increases in 2016-2017 and 49 of the 202 schools and school systems budgeted for lower salaries in fiscal 2017 than in the previous fiscal year.

Approximately two-thirds of the school divisions indicated that they would provide increases in the 2.0% to 3.0% range for the 2016-2017 school year.  The highest percentage planned increase was 8.0%, to be granted by Roanoke County Public Schools.  The highest increase comparing planned increases for 2016-2017 with actual average salaries in 2015-2016 was 8.15% in Petersburg City Public Schools. The average planned increase for all schools and school systems was 2.29%.