KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A blue ribbon commission tasked with reviewing Missouri’s teacher recruitment and retention efforts released its report Tuesday, calling for more robust spending on teacher salaries and training.
Commissioners presented their 22-page report to the Missouri State Board of Education Tuesday morning in Jefferson City.
The report’s authors made a total of nine recommendations, further dividing them into immediate, short-term and long-term priorities.
A common theme running through many of the priorities centered around funding of teacher salaries and training programs.
“Now is the time for the entire state to come together to find long-term solutions to increase teacher pay,” Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said in a release announcing the recommendations.
Among the immediate recommendations from the commission:
- Increase starting teacher salary through state statute and continue funding the New Teacher Baseline Salary Grant Program;
- Prioritize the Career Ladder Program;
- Establish sustainable revenue for Grow Your Own programs;
- Incentivize local education agencies to use Innovation Waivers to implement team-based teaching models.
Officials at DESE maintain a public database showing average teacher salaries at districts around the state.
A KSHB 41 data analysis shows that among select districts in the Kansas City area, teachers in the Lee’s Summit School District have the highest annual teacher salary at $64,211. School districts in more outlying areas have lower teacher salary averages in general.
In helping to understand average teacher salary, the state also tracks average teacher experience. This data starts to break down geographic barriers, showing that location doesn’t always equate to longer experiences.
The geographic disparities show back up however, when comparing average administrator salaries among the same group of school districts. Administrators in the Blue Springs School District averaging $121,867 per year, the highest in the area among the group of districts reviewed.
Tuesday’s report also recommended three short-term priorities;
- Establish statewide fund to support local education agencies in providing increased salaries;
- Increase support for mental health resources for teachers, school leaders and staff;
- Use funding in the Urban Flight and Rural Needs Scholarship programs to provide tuition assistance for teachers.
The commission also highlighted the need for salary supplements to fill high-needs positions and salary supplements for teachers with National Board certification as longer-term priorities.
Following Tuesday’s presentation, state education officials are planning a series of public hearings across the state. A hearing is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Fort Osage School District.
More information about the hearings and Tuesday’s report is available online.