The South Burlington school district offers an average teacher wage of $72,000, the highest mark in the state according to the Agency of Education.
Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union, which includes schools like Montgomery Elementary, has the lowest average figure: just less than $44,000 a year.
"The numbers speak for themselves. We've tried hard to bring our teacher pay up so that we'll be competitive with areas around us," said Jay Nichols, the Franklin Northeast superintendent.
Nichols says higher teacher pay rarely correlates with student test results, but can leave areas like his as training grounds for wealthier areas. A new agreement is set to raise starting wages in the union to $35,000, up from a low of $29,000. But Nichols says with statewide school funding already in place, a statewide teachers' contract could level the playing field, while still accounting for differences in cost-of-living.
"If Vermont kids are all Vermont kids, then maybe we should have all Vermont teachers paid equally," Nichols said.
"Burlington does have unique challenges that our districts around us don't have and yet the pay was not equitable," said Jeanne Collins, the Burlington Schools superintendent.
Burlington paid an average salary of $63,000 to teachers last year, but that ranked near the bottom for Chittenden County which has the highest salaries in the state. A new agreement pegs pay to the middle of the pack, with anticipated annual raises of about 4 percent a year over three years.
Collins says it's a delicate balance between what should be spent on students and their teachers.
"Staying in the middle of the middle was viewed on both sides as being fiscally responsible and yet acknowledging we need to be competitive with our colleagues," Collins said.
"There are multiple studies that show that good working conditions lead to good learning conditions, and good learning conditions help children to achieve," said Martha Allen of the Vermont NEA.
The average teachers' wage, according to the Vermont Department of Labor, is about $6,000 higher than workers in general. But Allen says despite improvement, pay remains too low. She adds that high-earners in densely populated areas skew the average, hiding those struggling to make ends meet. But she says a statewide contract will not solve the problem, nor would mandating that all districts have identical health care compensation schemes.
"I don't think stripping communities of their local control is the answer to paying teachers better salaries," Allen said.
Allen says economic development is the key to better salaries, because Vermont communities are willing to pay for education, if they have the money.
The Vermont Department of Labor and the Vermont Agency of Education calculate wage figures slightly differently. The Agency of Education has the average teacher salary at $52,000; that's $3,000 higher than the Department of Labor.
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:43 GMT
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year. For J.R. Adams, decorating his home elaborately with lights, music, and Santa Claus on a motorcycle is a childhood dream come true. "IMore >>
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:06 GMT
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver. They say Wednesday afternoon an older model red Subaru wagon driving north on Route 14 in Williamstown crossed into oncoming traffic, enteredMore >>
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:12 AM EST2013-12-05 06:12:17 GMT
Santa is looking for a few helpers to brighten the holidays for senior citizens across our region. Home Instead Senior Care is collecting gifts as part of its "Be a Santa to a Senior Program." The group'sMore >>
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Thursday, December 5 2013 1:11 AM EST2013-12-05 06:11:32 GMT
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Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-05 01:05:10 GMT
Burlington's deputy police chief is off the hook on drunk driving charges after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday.More >>
Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-04 14:45:58 GMT
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End. It happened Tuesday afternoon on Marble Ave. Investigators say Bryan Frazier, 30, and Rashad Sabree,More >>
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-04 14:31:50 GMT
An accused murderer has fired his investigator. Dennis Tribble was convicted of murder twice. The 63-year-old Vermont man was convicted of shooting and killing Michael Borello in 2000. But the VermontMore >>
An accused murderer has fired his investigator.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:24 PM EST2013-12-04 23:24:21 GMT
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges. Police say Joshua Loura is now linked to three break-ins in Wolcott and Johnson. He was already accused ofMore >>
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges.More >>