Thursday, July 15, 2004

Teacher pay starts lower in Ohio, Ky.

Neighbor states offer better deals

By Jennifer Mrozowski
Enquirer staff writer

Ohio ranks in the top third in the nation for average teacher pay, while Kentucky remains in the bottom third, according to the annual salary survey by the American Federation of Teachers to be released today.

Top five average teacher salaries in 2002-03, and increase from previous year:
1. California - $55,693 (2.5 percent)
2. Michigan - $54,020 (3 percent)
3. Connecticut - $53,962 (3 percent)
4. New Jersey - $53,872 (7.5 percent)
5. District of Columbia - $53,194 (2.7 percent)
15. Ohio - $45,515 (2.8 percent)
17. Indiana - $44,966 (0.8 percent)
37. Kentucky - $38,486 (2.7 percent)
Source: American Federation of Teachers
Still, both states face formidable challenges in recruiting new teachers because starting pay is lower than in adjoining states, union officials said.

The survey also revealed that while average pay went up in both states, by 2.7 percent in Kentucky and 2.8 percent in Ohio, teachers' costs of health benefits have soared 13 percent nationally.

Average teacher salaries for 2002-03, the most recent year available, were $45,515 in Ohio and $38,486 in Kentucky. Both were below the national average, $45,771.

Randy Wilson, who teaches at Boone County High School, said he's not surprised by the disparity between average teacher salaries in Ohio and Kentucky.

"I know a couple teachers in Boone County who moved to Ohio in the last couple of years. One is making about $15,000 more and the other is making about $20,000. That's almost an additional salary."

Ed Massey, chairman of the Boone County Board of Education, said the disparities make it difficult for Kentucky districts to retain teachers.

"People can easily drive across the river and, in a 30-minute time frame, be at (an Ohio) classroom and make that much more money," Massey said. "I would like Kentucky to be more competitive."

The average teacher salary in Boone County Schools is $42,000, he said. Just across the river in Cincinnati Public Schools, the average teacher salary is $56,100. In Princeton Schools, it is $54,216 and at Mason Schools in Warren County, it's $45,283.

But adjoining states like Michigan and Indiana top Ohio and Kentucky with higher beginning teacher salaries, said Sue Taylor, president of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers.

The average starting salary in Ohio is $28,866; in Kentucky, it is $28,886, while Indiana's is $29,144 and Michigan's is $33,596.

"We're going to be less attractive in competing with surrounding states for beginning teachers," Taylor said. "I'm very concerned about being able to replace our retired teachers with new teachers given that Ohio is not very competitive with beginning teacher salaries."

Both Kentucky and Ohio teachers say health-care costs have hurt. Wilson, of Boone County, said those costs increased each of the last eight years he's been teaching.

Cincinnati Public Schools Treasurer Michael Geoghegan said district health-care costs have risen more than 20 percent over the last three years and that has been passed on, in part, to teachers.

"Frankly, the increased health-care costs in many teachers' circumstances take a large bite out of salary increases," Taylor said.

William Croyle contributed to this report.


Collectors grin at smiley plates
Teacher pay starts lower in Ohio, Ky.
Rulings put courts in turmoil
Mason v. judge: Ouster debated
Four-legged recruit not drug dealers' best friend

Objections from neighbors put kibosh on outdoor bar and grill
Ohio may do Brent Spence impact study
Finan quits as county's lobbyist after just 6 months
Green Twp. thwarts Lowe's
Litter pickup steals time, money from road repairs, study reports
Local news briefs
Shooting range input sought
Inattentive officer dies in cycle crash
Neighborhood briefs
Some corn lost to rain
Man executed for 1989 murder of woman, girl
Concealed-weapon law passes key test
State to conduct open-records seminars
Public safety briefs
Colerain Township upset by Rumpke's delay
Woodland Elementary administrator named
Once flush, now broke, city weighs tax increase
2 Butler County rape suspects skip court dates
Dayton focus group proves tough sell for both parties
Some did pass teaching test
Worker's death was electrocution

Bronson: Gay marriage debate stifled by more mush
Good Things Happening

Bill Bunis turned from tennis, became sociology professor
Frank Florence Jr. was Baptist minister

Budget tensions thaw as Fletcher, House leaders meet
Judge says he won't make Fletcher convene session
Staples gets first approval
Hayden criticized for China seminar
Obstacle course teaches teamwork
Covington hires ombudsman
Covington woman charged for false abduction report