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NJ Spotlight Maps Public School Teacher Salaries

Across the state, teacher's pay offers a patchwork of possibilities, but tax caps and a sluggish economy are keeping raises tight

By Colleen O'Dea, NJ Spotlight

The average New Jersey public school teacher earned $67,412 last year, an increase of less than 1 percent over the prior year.

That small pay hike ($356 on average) reflects continuing poor economic conditions and the relatively tight 2 percent cap on tax increases imposed by the state.

Click here for an interactive map with teacher salary information for every school district in the state

The average salary for non-administrative professional staff -- including teachers, librarians, counselors, and others -- was up nearly 6 percent over the 2009-10 average of $63,632, according to an analysis of the New Jersey Department of Education’s certificated staff databases.

The database lists the base salary, degree, experience, job titles, and other information for every professional school staffer in the state. Teachers and others may actually receive more in total pay if they get a stipend for coaching or other activities. They also may be paid extra for unused time off or for declining health insurance.

Between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, a number of teachers in different districts agreed to a pay freeze. Voters in April 2010 rejected a near-record number of budgets -- 58.4 percent -- at least partly in response to a campaign by Gov. Chris Christie against the spending plans. The following year, just two of 10 budgets were rejected. This past spring, 88 percent of budgets passed, though only 70 districts held votes. A change in the law permits districts that stay below the cap not to put their budgets on the ballot.

According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, the average teacher contract settlement in 2011-2012 was 3.2 percent; for the new year, that is down to 2.4 percent. And the average salary increase for contracts settled since January 2011 is less than 2.2 percent.

“Settlement rates continue their downward trend due to the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap, the slow economy, and local school board concerns about property tax burdens,” said Marie S. Bilik, NJSBA executive director.

The average teacher in New Jersey last year had less than 13 years of experience. Little more than half of the teachers possessed a bachelor’s degree, while about 46 percent had a master’s degree.

In about a third of the districts, the highest paid professional whose primary responsibility was not administrative earned more than $100,000. At least some of these are guidance counselors working 12 months, instead of the 10 that the typical teacher works. Some also have some part-time administrative duties, for instance, serving as a subject supervisor.

The highest salary paid, at $162,599, was for a 12-month position as school psychologist at the Hudson County School of Technology. This professional had a master’s degree and 32 years of experience.

In contrast, the state’s longest-tenured teacher was an English as a Second Language expert in a Newark elementary school who had a doctorate and made $103,159 after 56 years of teaching.

New Jersey also boasts a an 84-year old Union City middle school teacher earning $111,600 after 40 years.

Below is a chart on teacher salary info for local districts and some District Factor Group comparables:

 

District Factor Group Average Teacher Salary One-Year Change Two-Year Change Average Years of Experience Lowest Teacher Salary Highest Teacher Salary Oradell I $58,113 0.4% 3% 13.9 years $4,671 $94,325 River Edge I $64,277 -3.6% 4.5% 10.8 years $29,235 $106,238 Bogota DE $66,761 7.60% 10.90% 15.1 years $27,936 $98,929 Englewood DE $66,982 0.30% 3.10% 10.4 years $19,506 $117,556 Paramus GH $67,769 1.50% 5.90% 11.6 years $21,294 $119,031 Garfield B $68,529 2.60% 6.30% 11.9 years $41,399 $133,300 Lodi B $68,826 3% 9.40% 14.3 years $21,266 $115,191 Fair Lawn GH $71,361 -1% 2.30% 13.9 years $29,286 $109,189 Glen Rock J $71,988 5% 9.80% 14.6 years $23,600 $119,464 Hasbrouck Heights  FG $72,010 5.50% 8.40% 14.2 years $6,900 $100,470 Ridgewood J $78,319 -2.20% 4.30% 12.7 years $6,208 $126,616 River Dell Regional  I $79,567 1.50% 6.80% 12.9 $11,309 $123,357 Teaneck GH $81,951 -2.30% 8.10% 13.7 years $48,460

$113,203

Teacher salaries include part-timers and 12-month positions

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TomW September 06, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Another reason why we'll never see a K-12 school district between Oradell and River Edge. " but tax caps and a sluggish economy are keeping raises tight" at least they are getting a raise. 4 years of no raises and increases in health care costs every year...I can say I am definitely worst off now than four years ago.
GGT September 06, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Tom W: Agreed. I know lots of people no raises for the last 3 or 4 years, and continuing increases in insurance costs, coupled with cut backs. The Public Sector of course does not want to hear any of that. As far as a k-12 district it will never happen between RE and Oradell, or any other town unless the state forces it. And I do not see that happening.
NO TO TAX HIKE September 07, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Increase in cost is everywhere, tax, toll, gas; and soon we'll see food prices increase (because of drought in midwest)! I would suggest lowering further the average years of experience of teachers and reduce the pay in RE/Oradell.Kids love younger teachers and in general they are better trained these days.
lucky September 07, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Firstly there will never be a consolidated k12 district until the tax equity is sorted out. Oradell will never agree to subsidize k-6 in addition to what they are already doing 7-12. Secondly, if the districts did consolidate, teacher contracts would be open for discussion and redone and thirdly you cannot just fire teachers - ever heard of tenure? How else would you lower the avg yrs experience? And you cannot just reduce pay - they have contracts. Even if it was so easy to do that, I wouldn't agree. I'm all for paying our teachers higher salaries if we could eliminate tenure and weed out the incompetent teachers. Time will tell how the new evaluation program works! But I've got no problem with higher salaries for teachers as long as the kids are truly learning.
NO TO TAX HIKE September 07, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Not all of them have tenure. Remove the ones not having tenure and not performing, first. For the incompentent ones with tenure, scrutinze performance evaluations and review pay raise, while seeking some measures for zero budget increas overall. School reports/scores suggest the RE/RD schools are not performing up to expectation. Therefore, I am totally against the higher salary for anybody who is not performing. It's that simple. No result, no pay. Those who are really performing definitely deserves higher pay, of course.
ggt September 07, 2012 at 08:12 PM
No To Tax Hike: You should not make a statement that Teachers are better trained today. I have met some of them, not impressed at all.Some of the old teachers were far superior, as more than a few had a passion for the subject they taught. Too many go into the field today, for the summers off and all the rest.
ggt September 07, 2012 at 08:16 PM
lucky: I agree. It always amazes me that supposedly educated savvy people just come out and say consolidate the schools and all will be well. Absolutley no thought goes into the statement before making it. The funding issue must be resolved as you noted, and in addition the out come (whatever it may be) will leave ill feelings in both towns. Perhaps more in Oradell, due to RE's absolute refusal to even acknowledge that Oradell had a legitimate compliant.

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