Monday, July 22, 2024

Louisiana teacher salaries still lag behind Southern, US average

by BIZ Magazine

The average Louisiana Teacher Salary is $52,472, which is more than $12,000 below the national average according to the Public Affairs Research Council (PAR).

States across the country vary on whether school districts or states determine salaries for public school teachers. Louisiana law allows districts to set their own salary schedules, meaning teacher pay around the state varies, depending on the district.

For the 2020-21 school year, teachers in Louisiana earned an average of $52,472, according to the Southern Regional Education Board.

The Louisiana Department of Education has an additional year of more recent data than the Southern Regional Education Board and includes salary levels by individual school districts. A classroom teacher in Red River Parish received $67,964 on average in the 2021-22 year, according to the state education department report. However, the average classroom teacher’s salary in East Feliciana Parish was $35,134.

Parishes with higher populations tend to have a higher salary, according to the state data. Charter schools are run independently of districts, and their teachers’ salaries aren’t included in the state Department of Education’s average salary calculations.

The state has been providing across-the-board pay raises to all teachers in recent years. Since 2019, public school teachers in Louisiana have received $3,300 in salary hikes from state lawmakers and the governor while school support staff such as cafeteria workers and teacher aides have gotten $1,650 in raises.

In the upcoming 2023-24 school year, teachers will receive an additional $2,000 salary increase, while support workers will get $1,000. While lawmakers said they intend for the pay hikes to be permanent, they are technically stipends because lawmakers didn’t pass a new public school funding formula that includes the money. To maintain the raises, a new governor and Legislature elected in the fall will have to again allocate the dollars next year.

Despite the recent increases, Louisiana still has lagged other Southern states in what it pays its teachers. It’s unclear what the latest round of pay hikes will do to the comparison, as that data isn’t yet available.

In the 2020-21 school year, Louisiana ranked fourth lowest in teacher salary out of the 10 Southern states shown above. For the past few years, Louisiana teachers have received pay increases as neighboring states continue to raise their educators’ salaries. Southern states overall pay nearly 15% below the national average, according to the Southern Regional Education Board.

Urban areas tend to have higher salaries than rural areas, particularly in the northwestern region of the state and in the southeast. Listed below are the five school districts with the highest average salaries and the five school districts with the lowest average salaries:
Top 5 School Districts:
Red River – $67,964
City of Monroe – $61,120
Caddo – $60,758
Bossier – $58,106
DeSoto – $57,956
Bottom 5 School Districts:
East Feliciana – $35,134
Concordia – $36,885
Tensas Parish – $37,531
East Caroll – $40,738
Richland – $41,004

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