Despite the slumping economy, technology personnel working in public school district central-office positions saw a 2.1-percent increase in average salary over the past year, with district-level technology directors earning $87,898 on average, according to the latest National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools. But in many districts, technology directors are still not viewed as on par with instructional services directors–and their average salary reflects this perception.

The annual salary survey collects data on 23 professional and 10 support positions, which are selected to represent the full scope of public school employment.

School systems use salary and wage data in many ways, including putting salary increases in a national or regional context when giving information to stakeholders; assessing a level of competitiveness in staff recruiting; reviewing salary schedules for building administrators and teachers relative to those used by other school systems; or analyzing year-to-year and long-term salary increases in comparison with other trends or those in other school systems.

The data were collected from 862 public school systems for the 2008-09 school year. Also included in this year’s survey is year-to-year, five-year, and 10-year information on trends in public school salaries and wages, with comparisons to the Consumer Price Indexes for each of those periods. Responding districts provided salary data on more than 1.5 million employees.

Central-office positions in the survey include superintendents, deputy or associate superintendents, assistant superintendents, staff directors, public relations personnel, finance and business managers, instructional program managers, technology developers and coordinators, and subject-area supervisors.

The survey also includes data on the average salaries of principals and assistant principals; classroom teachers; auxiliary professionals such as counselors, librarians, and school nurses; and support personnel, including teacher aides, building custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers.

District-level technology directors earn an average salary of $87,898, the report says–although it notes that their salary levels seem to be closely linked with their school district’s enrollment, with a $48,925 difference between the average salaries paid in large and very small districts ($114,778 versus $65,853, respectively). Geographically, the highest average salaries for technology positions appear in the country’s Mideast ($93,051) and far West ($100,655) regions.

Average superintendent salaries showed a 4.9-percent increase in the last year, from $148,387 to $155,634. The average salary paid to superintendents in districts enrolling 25,000 or more pupils is $225,222, while in districts enrolling 300 to 2,499 pupils, the average salary is $114,509. As with tech directors, superintendents in the Mideast and the far West have the highest average salaries.

Instructional services personnel earned an average salary of $102,322–a 2.6-percent increase over an average of $99,748 in 2007-08. And among central-office positions, the report notes that much importance is placed on this position, particularly in districts with enrollments of less than 10,000 students–in those districts, the director of instructional services is paid more than other directors, managers, and coordinators.

Elementary school principals earn $88,062 on average, middle school principals earn an average of $93,478, and high school principals average $99,365. Not surprisingly, principals and assistant principals in districts with high per-pupil expenditure have higher average salaries than their counterparts in districts with lower per-pupil expenditures.

Teachers earned an average salary of $52,900 in 2008-09, a 3.1-percent increase over 2007-08’s average salary of $51,329. Teacher salaries also are closely related with a district’s per-pupil expenditure level: The average teacher salary in high per-pupil expenditure districts is $56,538, compared with an average of $48,618 in low per-pupil expenditure districts.

Salary tables in the report are analyzed according to four categories: pupil enrollment, per-pupil expenditure levels, geographic regions, and community types, such as suburban or rural.

When adjusted to 2008 dollars, the 1998-99 average salary paid to teachers was $54,625, meaning the average teacher salary has declined by $1,725 in real dollars. The report notes that this decline could be owing in part to teachers at the high end of the salary range having retired, bringing in newer teachers at the bottom of the salary range to replace them.

The data indicate that over the past decade, salaries for central-office administrators increased at a higher rate (39.3 percent) than salary increases for other professional and support staff, including secretarial/clerical personnel (37.4 percent), building-level administrators (30.6 percent), teachers (27.9 percent), and auxiliary professionals (27.4 percent).

Public school employees’ average salaries outpaced inflation by less than 1 percent from the 1998-99 school year to the 2008-09 school year.
 
Many factors can influence staff compensation, the report notes, such as the relative experience of staff members and whether a district is trying to increase salaries to attract and retain highly qualified personnel.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2008-09 job outlook says that job opportunities for teachers over the next 10 years will vary from good to excellent. The degree depends on location, grade level, and subject, but most job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of "baby boomer" educators expected to retire in the next few years. New teachers leaving the profession after only a few years also will create job openings, the report says.

Educational Research Service (ERS) prepared the report, which was distributed by the Association of School Business Officials International.

Link:

National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools