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How Much Do Texas Teachers Actually Make?

Recently, we shared a graphic on social media from Raise Your Hand Texas that showed how poorly teachers are paid nationwide compared to other professionals with similar qualifications. Across the board, teachers make at least 7.6 percent less than their professional peers, with some making up to 37.4 percent less. Texas falls roughly in the middle (19th place), with a disappointing 23.4 percent.

But what does that translate into when it comes to actual wages? Is it just a few school districts pulling down the average, or is it widespread?

According to Teachers of Tomorrow, the average full-time public school teacher salary in Texas as of July 5, 2023, is $55,969. However, the range goes from $46,734 to $68,260, so there is significant variation in teacher’s paychecks. By comparison, the national average for teachers from the National Center for Educations Statistics in the 2018-2019 school year was $61,730.

It’s worth noting that teacher pay numbers sometimes vary significantly depending on the source, which is to be expected in a state that has 1,200 school districts. As we go through the data below, note that all salary ranges come from the actual school district sources, and some are thousands of dollars lower or higher than what is the reported range.

In the bigger school districts, pay can be quite high. Houston ISD has a minimum of $64,000 with New Education System (NES) teachers receiving $82,816. Of course, that district has also cut dozens of positions under state management.

Dallas ISD teachers start at $61,500. Cypress-Fairbanks starts theirs at $62,000. Northside ISD sets beginner teachers at $59,255.

The numbers drop as the school districts get smaller. Kermit ISD starts teachers at $46,607. Lamesa is even lower, $44,500, and Groesbeck ISD begins at $42,000. At the last one, a teacher with 30 years of experience still only makes $64,000, the starting range for Houston ISD.

In 2021, State Rep. James Talarico (D-Austin), a former teacher himself, proposed raising the statewide minimum teacher pay to $70,000, which would nearly double the pay for the poorest school districts. The bill went nowhere, but calls for more pay for teachers have been increasing.

In the last Texas legislative session, the state had a $32 billion budget surplus. Roughly half of that was spent on a massive property tax relief package, but negotiations stalled when it came to raising teacher pay.

Governor Greg Abbott refused to address the issue until the legislature passed a bill establishing a school voucher system that would allow public funds to go to private Christian schools mostly in urban and suburban areas. Rural Republicans in the House balked at the proposal, feeling it would ultimately drain funds from their local public schools. The matter went into stalemate as the chambers adjourned to start campaigning for the 2024 elections.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.

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