Report Shows Little Change In Average Oklahoma Teacher Pay

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Nate Robson

Nate Robson

March 20, 2015

Oklahoma gained one spot to claim the fourth lowest average teacher salary in the nation, not because teachers are earning significantly more, but because the average salary in Idaho went down.

The National Education Association report released earlier this week showed Oklahoma’s average teacher salary was $44,373 in 2012-2013, ahead of only South Dakota and Mississippi. The new data for 2013-2014 shows Oklahoma’s average salary was $44,549, up $176 compared with the previous school year.

But it was a $204 decrease in the average salary in Idaho that pushed Oklahoma up to fourth lowest.

The NEA is the nation’s largest teachers union. The local affiliate is the Oklahoma Education Association.

It was not immediately known why Idaho’s pay decreased, though averages can change as older teachers retire and new ones are hired at lower pay.

The salary data includes base pay and medical benefits.

Here is how average salaries stacked up in the bottom five states:


Arizona – $45,264

Idaho – $44,669

Oklahoma – $44,373

Mississippi – $41,814

South Dakota – $39,018


North Carolina – $44,990

Oklahoma – $44,549

Idaho – 44,465

Mississippi -$42,187

South Dakota $ 40,023

The report also shows Oklahoma still has the third-lowest per-pupil funding in the nation, ahead of only Nevada and Utah.

Here’s how the bottom five states stacked up in per-pupil funding:


Tennessee – $8,984

Mississippi – $8,971

Oklahoma – $8,729

Utah – $8,549

Nevada – $7,507



Mississippi – $9,114

North Carolina – $8,991

Oklahoma – $8,804

Utah – $8,743

Nevada – $7,521

State Education Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has used the state’s rankings in per-pupil expenditures and average teacher salaries to push for more education funding.

Shortly after taking office in January, she unveiled her plan to increase teacher pay by $5,000 and to add five additional days to the school calendar during the next five years.

Hofmeister asked for an additional $205 million in funding for support her proposal during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

The future of Hofmeister’s request, though, is uncertain.

Departments were told their funding could be cut by up to 4 percent next year due to a projected $600,000 budget short fall.

Hofmeister told the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this week that a 4 percent cut would mean $100,000 less for state education.

On Friday, Hofmeister said there are ways to increase education funding despite the budget shortfall.

Strategies included looking for ineffective tax incentives, reducing education mandates and finding ways to divert money that goes to testing.

Failing to take action will only make the state’s teacher shortage worse, Hofmeister said, especially since the surrounding states offer higher salaries.

“Out students deserve to have an effective teacher in every classroom,” she said. “I am going to continue to highlight this problem. This is a crisis.”

Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said she was not surprised by the report’s findings.

“Our state’s position in the rankings will never change until our elected officials make education a true priority,” she said. “While Oklahoma faces an enormous budget shortfall, with true legislative leadership there is still time this session to create a plan to better fund education in the near future.”

Nate Robson can be reached at

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  • I am a certified English teacher with a bachelor’s degree. Having taught for 16 years in a 5A
    Oklahoma middle school, I do not have a salary even close to what you are publishing and announcing to the public. Last year with 16 years expereince I grossed $38,500. When I just heard KOCO5 news report that the average teacher pay is $44,000, I seriously wonder where you people are getting this wrong information. I just pulled up the Oklahma teacher salary schedule on the internet and a 25 year teacher with a Bahelor’s degree only makes $42,325.
    Please explain to me how this is average. Are you deriving at this number by counting extra duties? If so you should not be. My point is that you are misleading the public. An Oklahoma teacher’s salary is actually worse than you are reporting.

    • Nate Robson

      Thanks for your comment. I did check on your question, and this data does not include extra duties. According to the state Department of Education, it does include flexible benefit allowances for health insurance.

      Also, if you are making $38,500, your district is using the minimum salary schedule as mandated by the state. Many school districts do exceed the state’s minimum salary schedule. About 320 districts use the minimum salary schedule.

      The National Education Association gathers the data from the state Departments of Education to make the reports.

      • Nate, thanks for responding. So, the majority of school districts (60-ish percent) us the minimum-salary schedule mandated by the state. Can you post the of districts that exceed the minimum-salary schedule? Or, the number of teachers (from the total) who make more than $44,549? Thanks. Here’s a link to the schedule:

        • Nate Robson

          You can use this to see who is exceeding the state minimum:

          Sort by the third column. The state minimum for starting pay is $31,600. Most districts with the minimum starting pay stick to the state’s schedule.

          That teacher pay data, though, is something we will be adding to our data center.

          • Thanks again, Nate, but that doesn’t seem to address cattrina’s question/concern. For example, what’s the mode? Moreover, how do the duration and credential variables influence the mean. Do you have the raw numbers that produced the average you reported? Are those what you will publish later? Thanks.

  • Virginia B. Graves

    Teachers are needed in the classroom yet if I, a retired certified teacher, substitute in a school the legislature requires 6% of my daily substitute pay go to the teacher’s retirement system. I will make minimum wage or below if I substitute in a classroom.

  • Jennifer

    Giving teachers a $5000 raise but then extending the school year isn’t giving them a raise. It’s paying them for additional work. A raise is a raise. The $5000 but extending the school year is NOT a raise.

  • During a recent local political meeting where Rep Brad Bingman, (I think was the speaker), teachers salaries were discussed and one participant said he had been studying how KS and AR had been able to raise their teacher’s salaries and discovered that they had reduced the amount of upper management and assistants, ed and coaching and were now able to pay the actual teachers more. I have long felt that our local school (Sapulpa) was very top heavy and that it needed to be changed. I would like to know if the surrounding states are in fact making these kind of changes.

  • Michael sparks

    Those of you old enough to remember the move to seven periods a day for the same pay. I can’t remember the rationale, maybe smaller classes, but it was one more preparation a day and added a new teacher every six teachers for the same money. We were ranked close to last the years I was in education dating back to the sixties.

  • fin oreilly

    fin oreilly
    19 days ago
    As a non-teacher I would appreciate a response as to why certain the following changes are not implemented:
    1. The disparity between the pay of District Supervisors. Maybe the pay for Administrators should be a set standard amount for each child in all of the District. Larger districts would get higher pay for more students and smaller
    districts with less kids would be paid less.
    2. Before a teacher gets full time pay and benefits, shouldn’t they have a typical work/school schedule closer to the average 2080 hours that other professionals work rather than the 1040 they are required? (Or at least cut out the long summer vacation, fall break and spring break. The longer hours could help in justifying higher wages. Plus our students would have a better chance at a complete education.