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LA Unified teachers, on average, rank 5th nationally in salary

Yana Gracile | June 23, 2014

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Teacher salaries LA Unified teachers LAUSD* UPDATED

LA Unified teachers are the fifth-highest paid among the nation’s 10 largest school districts, according to the latest data collected by the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

The top four districts for paying teachers with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience are Chicago ($62,046), New York ( $52,278), Hawaii ($50,728) and Houston ($47,273), with LA Unified next, at $46,794, according to the NCTQ data.

New York is the nation’s largest school district, and LA Unified is second-largest. The NCTQ survey includes findings from 114 of the largest school districts in the country.

Salary is a hot topic these days in LA Unified. The district has offered its local union, UTLA, only a 2 percent raise for the coming year, on top of a 2 percent bonus for the year just completed. That would raise the average annual salary to $48,683, passing only Houston on the NCTQ list, assuming no other districts ahead of Los Angeles give their teachers raises.

The LA union is demanding a 17.6 percent raise, over an unspecified number of years. Applying a three-year schedule, that would still leave LA teachers at No. 4 behind Chicago, New York and Hawaii.

In the category of fully certified first-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree, the salary order is fairly similar. Chicago once again takes the lead with $49,660, followed by Houston ($46,805), LA Unified ($45,637), New York ($45,530) and Hawaii ($43,759).

Salaries in Hawaii are competitive with large mainland cities because schools in the islands generally have to pay more to attract quality teachers.

According to the data, there is just a slight increase across the board in salaries for teachers with a master’s degree and five years experience in the top districts, generally between $3,000 and $6,000, over teachers with only a bachelor’s.

In LA Unified, teachers with a master’s and five years experience earn $52,579, about $5,785 more in annual salary, making those teachers the fourth highest paid in the top districts across the country, behind Chicago, New York and Hawaii.

NCTQ is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for higher quality preparation programs for teacher candidates. The salary data has been part of its annual Teacher Contract Database base since 2005.

*Clarifies to say LA ranks 5th among the 10 largest districts in the US.


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