Revised data on school teacher and administrator salaries

Revised data on school teacher and administrator salaries

This post contains corrected information from an earlier post.

As the Kansas Legislature considers its response to the Gannon school decision, KASB is receiving questions from legislators, the media and others about aspects of education. One is how increases in teacher salaries have compared to administrator salaries.

In a post earlier this week, I included a chart showing that average teacher salaries had increased about 4.0 percent more than superintendents between 2005 and 2018. I based this on Kansas State Department of Education summary tables that for teacher, superintendents and principals.

However, it was pointed that these annual tables have actual teacher salaries through 2018, but only “contracted” data for superintendents and principals. Specific annual reports for these groups in KSDE’s Data Central show actual 2018 salary data for principals and superintendents and contacted data for 2019, however some districts have not reported principal information.

Based on this information, between 2005 and 2018, average Kansas superintendent salaries increased 1.5 percent more than teachers, and principal salary 1.8 percent more.

However, while average salaries of the administrator groups increased more than teachers by less than two percent, the number of these administrators was reduced while the number of teacher increased.

From 2005 to 2018, school boards increased full-time equivalent teaching positions by 5.9 percent, while reducing superintendents by 6.2 percent and principals by 2.1 percent. (All 286 school districts have a superintendent, but the FTE number is reduced by sharing positions between districts sharing other duties such as school principal.)

Multiplying the average salary for each group by the FTE number in group produces an estimated total of salaries paid, which increased approximately 38 percent for teachers, 24 percent of superintendents and 30 percent for principals.

For 2019, only “contracted” salaries are available, which are subject to change. It appears average teacher salary will increase 2.84 percent and superintendent salary 2.88 percent. Principal salaries are more difficult to compute because not all districts have reported. But, as was noted for 2018, the actual salary average can differ from the contracted number of changes during the year due to retirement, resignations and new hires.

There are several factors affecting school salaries.

  • School districts have increased teaching staff to add all day kindergarten and preschool, increase career technical education courses, and meet the special education needs of students with disabilities while keeping class sizes relatively low. However, this means teacher salary dollars are spread over more teachers.
  • School superintendent and principal have been reduced due school consolidations, building closings and sharing positions. This also means administrators are supervising more teachers. (Other school employee groups have also increased.)
  • Salaries in more rural areas are under pressure to compete with administrator salaries in larger districts in more urban areas.