Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, says it’s important that people pay attention to the facts/figures when it comes to teacher pay and education funding.
Referencing a graph showing Colorado’s general fund budget Bailey said, "This is just basically to say that it’s not cheap. We already spend about 40 percent of the general fund budget in the state of Colorado for K-12 education and yet look at what teachers are paid. Look at the fact that we have one of the lowest expenditures per pupil in the United States."
She shows that wasn’t always the case.
"On average by 1982 the state of Colorado per pupil spent about $232 more than the national average. You fast forward to 2014 and we are now spending $2,030 less than the national average."
She says if you put all that together it translates into other areas.
"If you look at the K-12 educator’s average starting salary from 2016-2017 you can see the U.S average was $38,600 roughly and look at Colorado: only $33,000…at the baseline Colorado teachers are starting out with an average salary $6,000 less than the national average."
In comparing those starting salary numbers to livable wages, Bailey references figures according to MIT.
"For El Paso for one adult, a single adult, that livable wage is $11 and roughly 40 cents per hour. Annualized it comes to $24,000…if you have a single parent with one child that jumps because of childcare costs to about $26 an hour with a livable wage of about $54,000…even in a household with two adults and two children the annualized wage is $34,000."