The five-year law aimed at boosting teacher pay in Idaho has helped push average statewide salaries past $51,000 a year.
The 2019-20 average: $51,691, according to records obtained by Idaho Education News from the State Department of Education.
The average statewide salary is up $7,486, or nearly 17 percent, since the career-ladder salary law went into effect in 2015, when average salaries were $44,205.
The pay hikes have garnered sturdy support in the Statehouse since the law’s implementation, with K-12 state budgets — and $250 million in combined payouts tied to the law — sailing through the Legislature every year.
As a result, most districts have seen notable increases since 2015. Boise-based iSucceed Virtual Charter School led the statewide pack in terms of dollar-amount growth, with average salaries jumping from $44,775 to $64,133, a 42.3 percent increase.
Here’s a look at average salaries in some of the state’s largest districts:
• West Ada, Idaho’s largest district, increased salaries from $46,416 in 2014-15 to $53,099 this school year, a 14.4 percent jump.
• Average salaries in the Boise district rose from $51,649 in 2014-15 to $61,407 in 2019-20, a nearly 19 percent increase.
• Bonneville, East Idaho’s largest school district, increased salaries from $40,165 to $48,128 since the law’s implementation, an almost 20 percent increase.
• Salaries in the Coeur d’Alene district jumped from $49,559 in 2014-15 to $56,943 this year, a 14.9 percent hike.
• A few districts saw average salaries drop. Fort Hall-based Chief Tahgee Elementary Academy’s number slipped from $48,509 in 2014-15 to $43,600 this school year.
Fluctuation is no surprise. Seventy percent of districts or charters utilize the career ladder — up from about half in 2016-17, according to an EdNews analysis.
The law also targets pay increases for teachers at earlier stages of their careers — an effort to curb attrition and attract more teachers to the field. Gov. Brad Little wants to increase starting teacher salaries to $40,000 next year — and has proposed spending $7.7 million to complete a two-year plan to boost minimum salaries.
OTHER TAKEAWAYS FROM 2019-20 AVERAGE TEACHER SALARIES
• Before the career ladder, 65 districts were below $40,000. Now, only the rural Prairie Elementary District, in central Idaho, falls below that threshold, at $39,500.
• The tiny Pleasant Valley Elementary District tallied the lowest average salary before the career ladder, at $31,750. Today, the average is $42,503, a 34 percent jump.
• The Blaine County School District topped the average salary tally before the career ladder, at $71,646. The district’s $74,981 still leads the pack.
• Before the career ladder, the spread from highest to lowest average salary was $39,896. Now it’s $35,481, a decrease of $4,415, or 11 percent.
Idaho EdNews data analyst Randy Schrader provided data for this story.