A new blog post from KASB Vice President for Advocacy, Mark Tallman notes the hill that local school boards need to climb when it comes to teacher pay. With the recent Gannon decision, they should have an opportunity to do that.

“We need to focus all the new resources on improving success for students,” said Tallman. “A critical part of that is making sure we have quality teachers and educators. What I was trying to say in the blog is that teacher pay is critical. There are warning signs about what we’ve done. It is the number one problem we hear from local boards.”

Teaching has long paid less than other professions requiring a college degree.

“Boards are struggling to find qualified teachers,” said Tallman. “We’ll hear just as often that boards struggle to find quality, reliable bus drivers or cooks. The same thing is true with leadership to oversee and lead the teaching staff.”

Teachers now trail comparably educated employees in other fields by nearly 20 percent in weekly pay.

“A really good teacher who has the ability to communicate and empathize and lead and be creative, the very kinds of these that we’re going to need if we want our schools to innovate and redesign, those are characteristics that would be sought for in many different fields,” said Tallman. “There again, one of the challenges we face is, the qualities that we want in teachers to really go into making the system transform are going to be prized by other employers, as well.”

Kansas school operating budgets should increase by about 4 percent per year between now and 2023, while inflation is expected to increase about 2 percent per year.