After years of stagnant or falling wages, California teachers finally are getting meaningful pay raises, new state figures show. The average teacher salary in 2015 was $74,090, up 3.8 percent from 2014.
From 2009 to 2013, in the midst of government cutbacks and furloughs tied to the recession, average, inflation-adjusted teacher pay in California fell by about 5 percent. It rose slightly during the 2014 school year, and now sits about where it was in 2009.
The number of public school teachers statewide grew by about 7,000, or 2.6 percent, from 2014 to 2015 – also a shift from years of teacher cuts.
The average public school superintendent salary in 2015, excluding part-timers, was roughly $179,000, up more than 4 percent from 2014. However, that includes only base pay, and many superintendents receive a significant benefit through stipends and bonuses.
California ranks in the top five nationwide for average teacher salaries, according to the National Education Association. It is also more expensive to live in California than most other states.
Teacher pay varies widely by district. Average teacher salaries are generally a reflection of three factors: the cost of living in a community; how much a district is willing to pay; and the number of experienced teachers the district employs.
Five school districts, most in the Bay Area, pay their teachers, on average, more than $100,000 – likely still not enough to afford to purchase a home in their communities. At least 10 school districts in rural areas pay their teachers, on average, less than $45,000 annually.