FRANKFORT, Ky.-- The Kentucky Department of Education has released the average teacher salary for the 2018-2019 school year; it is $53,923. That's up from the previous year, when it was $53,450. When the cost of living is factored in, considered while comparing states across the nation, the Bluegrass doesn't rank poorly; EdBuild has ranked Kentucky just behind neighboring state, Ohio. Still, teachers say they're not being paid what they're worth and that the widely varying salaries across districts should be changed.
One teacher in Jefferson County, NyRee Clayton-Taylor, has been teaching for 19 years and says her yearly pay is $82,000. One teacher in the Berea Independent School District, Robin Burr, has been teaching for 24 years and says she's paid $55,000 per year. The urban versus rural factor makes a difference.
While Clayton-Taylor says she has no complaints on her pay, she worries that starting salary at about $42K for fresh teachers isn't enough to attract them to work and overcome loan debt they accrued. “Essentially, it is almost like you’re giving teachers crumbs," Clayton-Taylor says, "we should be treated as doctors."
Burr says she relies on her husband's income, and also pays out of pocket for many classroom supplies. "I think it's an injustice, especially if you're doing teaching the way it should be done."
All that aside, both Burr and Clayton-Taylor both agree on two things: teachers should get more respect and have that reflected in pay, but also that they'd each happily teach for free.