Starting teacher salaries in Texas are among the highest in the nation when adjusted for cost of living, and many Tarrant area districts have pay rates for new teachers that are much higher than the state average.
A recent survey by WalletHub rated Texas as the 20th best state for teachers based on salaries adjusted for cost of living, teacher turnover, class sizes, spending per pupil and several other factors.
Where Texas rose near the top was in starting teacher salaries, where the state came in at No. 2, behind Wyoming. According to WalletHub, a financial information website, the average salary for new teachers in Texas is $41,997.
In last year’s salary comparison from the Fort Worth-based United Educators Association, the median starting salary for the 32 districts on the west side of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area was $50,000.
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“We are seeing an arms race between school districts with starting salaries, especially in North Texas,” said Steven Poole, executive director of the United Educators Association.
Winning the “arms race” is the Hurst-Euless-Bedford (HEB) school district, home of the $55,000 starting salary for new teachers.
“Because people are an organization’s most important resource, the Board has consistently supported having a competitive salary schedule for all categories of employees,” HEB Superintendent Steven Chapman said via email.
Highly qualified teachers in the classroom help students achieve to their full potential.
“We want to recruit and retain the best of the best,” Chapman said.
An annual state-wide survey from the Texas Association of School Boards tracks average teacher salaries in all 20 regions of the state.
In the 2016-17 survey,the Fort Worth region’s teachers ranked second in the state with an average salary of $53,485. The highest paid teachers, on average, are in the Houston region, at $55,558.
According to WalletHub, Texas teachers dip to No. 14 based on the average of all teachers’ salaries at $57,211. The top states are Michigan at $70,327, Illinois at $64,232 and Wyoming at $63,402. The worst states are Hawaii at $34,308, South Dakota at $40,880 and Maine at $45,088. All salaries are adjusted for cost of living.
Where Texas really plummets in the study is in income growth potential, where it comes in at No. 43. Starting salaries are high, but there’s not as much upward movement.
For Hurst-Euless-Bedford, a teacher with 30 years of experience makes $71,112, which works out to just under 1 percent growth per year. By comparison, Chicago teachers start out at $50,653 while veterans with more than 20 years earn at least $85,920, which works out to more than 2 percent a year.
The United Educators Association’s Poole said, “It seems sometimes that the veteran teachers do not receive the same attention as the beginning teachers.”
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Top Tarrant area school districts for starting teacher salaries
1. Hurst-Euless-Bedford: $55,000
2. Mansfield: $54,149
3. Grand Prairie: $53,500
4. Castleberry: $53,150
5. Crowley: $53,000
5. Northwest: $53,000
7. Arlington: $52,500
8. Birdville: $52,000
8. Carroll: $52,000
8. Fort Worth: $52,000
Source: district websites and officials provided figures for the 2017-18 school year