In my prior post we looked at Unionville-Chadds Ford (UCF) teacher pay. Today we compare teacher pay in UCF to other school districts in Pennsylvania. If we are going to attract, retain, and reward Great Teachers, our compensation needs to be competitive. This is going to be chart-intensive. If you don’t like data and charts, proceed at your own risk!
Notes on the Data
The public database provides the average salary in each school district. We need to remember that almost all districts pay teachers based on step/lane. Therefore pay differentials between districts come from two sources:
- Absolute salary scale differences (district A pays more than district B for a teacher with the same years of experience and level of education)
- Difference in experience/education levels (districts with more experienced and more highly educated teachers will have higher average salaries, all other factors being the same)
For certain comparisons I have normalized out the difference in experience/education levels in order to isolate the absolute salary scale differences. These data sets are called “normalized salaries”.
I pulled data for the ~500 public school districts (“LEAs”) and excluded charter schools, intermediate units, and other non-standard entities.
Average Salary, by School District
In my prior post, we saw that classroom teachers in UCF earn, on average, $75,510. The state average, shown in the chart below, is $64,084. So UCF pays 18% more than the average PA school district, which places UCF at the 91st percentile (44th of 499) for average pay.
In order to have truly comparable salaries, we must normalize district average salaries to eliminate the pay effects of differences in teacher experience and advanced degrees. This enables us to make a ‘like for like’ comparison of average salaries across districts.
On a normalized basis, UCF occupies a slightly higher position on salaries state-wide. On a like for like basis, UCF pays $77,912 vs. the state average of $64,084, or a premium of 21%. This places UCF at the 95th percentile (25th out of 499 districts).
So from analyzing normalized salaries, we can see that UCF pays very well compared to other districts in the state (95th percentile) and within the county (3rd out of 11 districts).
Average Salary in High-Achieving Districts
UCF is a high-performing district academically. How do our teacher salaries compare against other high-performing districts in the state?
The chart below shows the top 25 school districts in math PSSA results from first (on the left) to 25th (on the right). UCF is ranked #1 on Math PSSAs, and pays middle of the pack compared with this peer group of top performing districts (average is $73,440). Using normalized salaries for the top 25 math school district tells a similar story. UCF’s normalized pay of $77,912 is 6% above the average for the peer group of $73,035, and is ranked 10th out of 25, or 60th percentile.
Interestingly, New Hope-Solebury and Spring Ford achieve very similar Math PSSA results (56.5 vs. 52.9) but have vastly different salary schedules. If value is defined as outcome per dollar spent, it certainly seems like Spring Ford is doing something right. (Of course we know that other non-school factors have a strong influence on academic outcomes.)
Experience and Education, by School District
How does UCF’s composite teacher profile compare to others in terms of years of experience and advanced degrees? UCF teachers average 10.8 years of teaching experience, while the average for Pennsylvania districts is 13.8 years. For advanced education, UCF teachers average 4.8, while the average district is at only 4.52. (Bachelors = 4, Masters = 4.5, PhD/equiv=5)
So UCF is above average in advanced degrees, and below average in teacher years of experience. The spread of districts is shown in the chart below:
- UCF teacher salaries place our district in the top 9% of all districts in Pennsylvania.
- After normalizing for step/lane mix differences, UCF pays in the top 5%, and 21% above the average district in Pennsylvania.
- Among Chester County districts, UCF salaries are in the top quartile.
- When compared against a peer group of the 25 top performing districts, UCF pay is in the top third.
- Our teachers have less experience than state averages, but hold more advanced degrees.
- Teachers at UCF are well-paid compared to state, county, and other top performing districts
- On teachers are younger-in-the-profession and better-educated than average