Average California teacher makes approximately $85,000

July 29, 2014

teacher-thumb-300x300The average full-time public school teacher in the state of California earns $84,889 a year. [LA Times]

That figure and many others detailing school district employee pay are available in an online database recently released by Transparent California, an offshoot of the Tustin-based, non-partisan think tank, The California Policy Center. In order to compile the database, the policy center submitted record requests to more than 1,000 school systems in the state and received data from 653 of them.

The record requests uncovered that nearly 35,000 teachers in the state earn more than $100,000 a year, and more than 100 superintendents make more than $250,000 a year.

Last year, the superintendent of the Montclair-Ontario Unified School District in the inland Empire received $492,077 in pay, according to the database. A junior high principal in the Bay Area city of Martinez made $279,669.

Additionally, 31 custodians at public schools made more than $100,00 last year.

The database also tracks a phenomenon known as double dipping, in which retired teachers continue to work. Last year, more than 1,000 teachers received state-funded pensions while continuing to work and receive salaries from districts.


54 Comments

  1. Maxfusion says:

    Comparing public school teacher compensation to salaries in the private sector is absurd. Taxation is the source of the teacher’s income, and the people who provide it have no choice. Don’t pay your property tax and the County will seize your assets. If the system is successful, you pay. If the system is failing, you pay. Don’t have children, doesn’t matter, you pay. Corporations provide either a product or a service. Don’t like the product, don’t buy it. Don’t like the service, don’t buy it. The former is legislated plunder, and the later a choice. Comparing the two is intellectually bankrupt and an apples and oranges position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. brettmx says:

    The middle class needs to stop eating its own. Corporate executives are pulling down millions and billions and pay the much lower capital gains tax rate on stock sales. Even in this article look at how much administrators are being paid. And what do most of the commentors suggest- the average teacher is making way too much. There is class warfare, the super wealthy won a long time ago and the rest of us are too busy fighting amongst ourselves to notice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 15

    • pasoman says:

      Corporate executives get paid with private money, approved by the stockholders, and have accountability which is measured every day in the stock market against the competition. The stock market gives corporations a grade every day based on performance. Just ask the PERS executives. Would they prefer corporate executives of the companies they own to be paid under the same rules as teachers?

      Teachers get paid with public money, dictated by a union, and have no accountability because there is no competition. Even worse, teachers get pay increases based on years of service, NOT on performance, or results. And even worse yet, they are protected by tenure and the union when they perform poorly.

      If we value teaching and want better education, there needs to be competition AND accountability tied to compensation. Then remuneration will match results.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

      • hijinks says:

        I guess your ideas about teachers being paid too much for poor performance being different from what happens in the corporate world is based on some facts? Not! The biggest ripoffs in the economy are failed corporate executives who still get millions and millions in bonuses (for ruining stockholder value, destroying the economy, doing reckless things that put millions out of work) and exit fees when they’re finally dumped. Get real. The comment that the lower 80% spend all their time fighting over crumbs is right on! We’re all getting screwed by corporates. They laugh all the way to the bank at how we spend our time fighting each other because everybody thinks every other peon who makes more than she does is making too much! It’s a very sad state, carefully created by the Right to keep the rest of us busy while the big guys rip off the world.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

    • kayaknut says:

      But I don’t seem to ever recall a group of teachers marching, doing a walkout, holding signs, calling a “blue flu” day or anything to protest their own administration’s pay, why could it be because most administrators started out as teachers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  3. fishing village says:

    We should pay teachers more money! more than sports ‘figures’!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Yea but we all pay the teachers. Only people into sports pay the sports figures.

      With the dismal numbers I see in the state how about we work it that good one’s get paid more and the others get FIRED!?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

      • zaphod says:

        highest paid public worker:

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        I agree that our education system is not doing well. However, blaming teachers in general is way off target. Try administrators (particularly at the state level) who are constantly playing around with different ideas using the entire school system as a test bed rather than an economically sensible small scale experiment. Try the legislators who constantly throw out both new mandates and new restrictions (both costing money and disrupting efficiency) so that they can tell gullible voters they are “doing something” when having the patience to let schools work out the bugs from previous changes would be smarter.

        Yes, the teacher’s unions have some faults like protecting the occasional incompetent instructor and lobbying for unreasonable benefits. But that is not the fault of all teachers and blaming the many good ones for them is overstating the problem at best.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Here is the problem. We all are going back and forth and not listening to the other. I said if you perform, fine you should get paid more and if not you should be fired. That is how it works in a lot of jobs. Tell me what is wrong with that? Should we just reward people to reward regardless of performance?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

      • hijinks says:

        Your facts are wrong. The highest paid public servants in California are “sports figures” — football coaches at public universities. Taxpayers pay for that, too. For what one college football coach gets, you could hire 100 or more professors.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • achillesheal says:

      No understanding of economics. If 60,000 people were willing to pay money every day just to watch you work, don’t you think you would be worth a lot in the market place. Not to mention television revenue streams, jersey sales etc…professional athletes get paid 10s of millions because they create hundreds of millions in revenue for the owners who pay them.

      If you want to know the economic value (not to be confused with societal value) of a teacher, look at private school salaries which are market driven. I would venture that they average around half or less than half of that of their government counterparts.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. NorthCountyGuy says:

    Incompetent teachers being protected by the Teachers Unions, and by Tenure, explain why California is going broke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 7

  5. SLOBIRD says:

    Well, if we weren’t teaching the world’s illegals in our school system, which the unions and democrats love and support, we could have more money for the teachers and the students. But, that is not going to happen so they have to live with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 13

  6. SnakePliskin says:

    From the article in the L.A. Times: “The total figures include base pay, overtime, benefits and other forms of compensation.”

    Pretty much brings a teachers regular base salary to near poverty levels… USA, USA, USA

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 15

    • SLOBIRD says:

      Your statement might be true if the teachers worked full time, 8 hours a day (EVERYDAY), 5 days a week, minus 2 weeks of vacation, 5 sick days, and 12 paid holidays. Until then, they will not get my sympathy as working in the workforce today is hard for all employees.

      Most teachers work at best, 4.5 days a week (8:00 to 3:00 and I challenge anyone to go to a campus after 3:30 and find a teacher), week at Thanksgiving, Spring Break, 2 weeks at Christmas, 13 holidays, 3 months off in the summer, and yes, they are also entitled to vacation paid time during the year. They get a hell of a pension and I say they are well rewarded for their hard work. Nurses do not make this kind of money and they work just as hard.

      Most private employees work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, get 7 paid holidays, 2 weeks of vacation and 5 paid holidays.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 10

      • Perspicacious says:

        Ummmm, you don’t actually know much about teachers, do you? They are in the classroom preparing for the school year for two weeks before the school year starts. They are in the classroom for about a week AFTER the year ends finishing up responsibilities. During the day I suppose they NEVER get there before 8 or take work home with them after 3, do they? You couldn’t be more wrong about how hard the GOOD ones work. The bad ones, and there are a few, they aren’t worth the paper their check is printed on.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 10

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          I know two teachers that felt well compensated and that to many complain about it.SLOBIRD is right and most of his argument is right.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        I know a few teachers. They may not be in a classroom after 3:30 pm but they are frequently elsewhere assisting in extracurricular activities (often without extra compensation.) They also spend time at home grading papers and, if the curriculum is new to them, lesson planning too.

        The benefits are a bit more than the private sector but then they also have to deal with trying to teach a mob of young kids in which there are bound to be a few hell bent on disruption. Add to that the heavy restrictions on what they can do to maintain discipline and their job is as stressful as a nurse or cop. The stress in LEO jobs comes in short, infrequent bursts rather than long, continuous hassles.

        Incidentally, most cops make as much or more with less education (and hence less student loan to repay.) They do work more hours to do it so I won’t begrudge them their pay either as long as they do their work professionally. Nurses can and do make as much or more than teachers when they are fully qualified. They have comparable education requirements and work longer hours as well (if they want to do so.) However, not being public employees for the most part, their benefits aren’t as generous.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

      • hijinks says:

        Thinking that teachers only “work” during classroom hours is like thinking that athletes only work during games. Unlike most jobs, with teaching you don’t leave your work at the workplace when the workday is over. It’s one of the most intense all-consuming life-experience jobs around. People who are good at it have to love that aspect of the demands it makes.

        You are very ignorant of how all-consuming teaching is for most teachers. When I was a teacher, I spent about 50 hours a week preparing, grading, planning, etc. — in addition to hours in the classroom. That’s probably about typical. For many, it’s the road to burnout. Then people like you who know nothing hurl insults at teachers. Has it occurred to you that with all the actual stuff teachers have to contend with on the job, to have the mean commentary you provide thrown into the daily mix, you just might succeed in driving the best young people away from considering this essential profession? You might want to think about the end effects of your rude and ignorant commentary.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  7. Shocked in MB says:

    If I may, lets carry this out.

    Annual Pay of $60,000/year for teacher = $56/hour based on 180 school days
    A normal 40 hour/week employee works 220 days per year. At the same $56/hour they would make $98,650 per year using the teachers hourly pay rate.

    If Annual Pay of $80,000/year for teacher=$74/hour based on 180 school days
    A normal 40 hour/week employee works 220 days per year. At the same $74/hour they would make $130,240 per year using the teachers hourly pay rate.

    So a teacher actually makes somewhere between $98,650-$130,240 if they were working a full time 40 hour a week (50 weeks a year) job like every else.

    Sorry but no matter how you cut it, it is a great hourly wage that most people would envy. Before you try, please do not bring up stress. I believe Nurses, police, construction et al would like to argue the stress factor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 11

    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Did you take into account that most teachers put in more than 40 hrs/wk during the school year and don’t get extra compensation for it unless it involves a paid position like “coach?”

      Did you take into account that teachers have to pay for their own continuing education to maintain/improve their credentials during those 3 months off?

      Did you take into account that the $50-60K average is not for starting teachers but for all teachers including some who have gone on to advanced degrees? Or that the pay levels in some areas are significantly higher than others? (Without knowing the pay rates, I would bet that the pay for San Luis Coastal School District is a bit higher but that the rate for the Cuyama Schools is much lower.)

      The only problem I have with the compensation of teachers is the defined benefits-type pensions which I don’t think are right for ANY occupation. Hard times should have the same effect on everyone. “Defined-benefits” passes on the effects of hard times to the taxpayer.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

      • hijinks says:

        “defined benefits-type pensions which I don’t think are right for ANY occupation”

        Ah, yes, the Right’s hatred of anything that helps retired people keep out of the poorhouse.

        Maybe you look at it backwards: Maybe defined benefit pensions are RIGHT for ALL PEOPLE!! That’s how it works in most industrialized countries. We’re about the last that thinks it makes sense to throw retirees under the bus.

        Or maybe you’re just rich, so you’ve got yours, and don’t care about others?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  8. slomike says:

    It would be fun to have one of those overpaid English teachers grade these comments. Perhaps if people paid more attention in school $85,000 wouldn’t be considered a high salary to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9

  9. Rambunctious says:

    Teaching is integral in the success and advancement of the world. They should be paid well. Education is too important to not offer an attractive salary and it’s also too important to sustain a policy like tenure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 11

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      No sorry, teaching doesn’t and won’t work if the number one isn’t applied first. Parenting. If the parents aren’t involved the kids will NOT succeed. Look around at any kid that is doing well and nine times out of ten the parents are involved. If the parents aren’t involved, no amount of teaching is likely to help. Yes there will be a few cases but overall?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

      • hijinks says:

        So, with your theory, if a kid is unlucky enough to have rotten parents (which many are — we can’t choose our parents), we just toss her on society’s refuse pile?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

Leave a Comment