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Salary Increases

OEA Research Teacher Salaries: Salary Increases

Teacher salary increases come in three forms: step increases; increases on the base; and, index changes.

As previously mentioned, built into salary schedules are step increases that are received automatically for a set number of years and periodically until a maximum is reached. For a typical school district, overall teacher salary costs will grow 1.5 to 2.0 percent annually due to step increases alone. In a typical school district about half of teachers are eligible for a step increase in any given year. The portion of teachers eligible for step increases will vary depending upon the structure of the index and the experience level of the teaching staff.

A base, or across-the-board, increase occurs when the pay level for a teacher with a bachelor’s and zero experience is increased by some amount, usually in the form of a percentage, thus driving up the salaries at all other indexed training and experience levels by the same amount.

For the 2007-2008 school year, the average base wage increase was 2.51 percent up slightly from an average of 2.48 percent for the 2006-2007 school year, but well below average increases seen during the first part of the decade.

The following table shows the average base increase for collective bargaining agreements in their first, second, and third year for the 2007-2008 school year.

Average 2007-2008 Wage Increase by Year

Collective Bargaining Agreement was Negotiated

Year Contract Negotiated

Average 2005-2006 wage Increase







Ten percent of the collective bargaining agreements that were negotiated last year, including wage reopeners, contained no 2007-2008 base increase whatsoever. For contracts negotiated for the 2006-2007 school year, 20 percent froze wages. In many instances wage freezes were accepted in exchange for no reduction in insurance benefit levels or increase in premium contribution amounts.

Data reported by the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) in its Annual Wage Settlement Report showed the average wage increase for teacher contracts negotiated in 2005-2006 to be the lowest since SERB began tracking wage settlements in 1991. Teacher contracts bargained in 2006-2007 showed slightly higher settlements. SERB data for 2007-2008 were not available at the time of this report.

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