A teacher in Montana has a unique job that many teachers in other states don’t have: being paid more than her peers.
The Montana Board of Education announced Wednesday that teachers in the state make up about 30 percent of the state’s teachers, but the state Education Department estimates that less than 5 percent of those are eligible for the full salary increase.
The state board also announced that the pay of those earning above $75,000 a year has increased by $3.6 million over the past five years.
Montana’s teacher shortage is the second-highest in the country, according to a recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The department also reported that the state had the fourth-highest teacher turnover rate in the nation, with more than 2,000 teachers leaving the state every day.
“I can’t tell you how many teachers that are going to leave Montana, I can’t, but I can tell you it’s a lot,” said Julie McQueary, a teacher in Helena, Montana, who is also the executive director of the Montana Teacher Assistants Association.
“You know what?
They’re coming back and they’re going to do the same thing again, and again, again, every year.
And that’s going to be us.”
McQuearie, who has been working in Montana since 2000, said she would like to see the state give teachers more of a say in how their school is run.
“We’re a state that believes in having a voice in the school,” she said.
“That’s a huge step for our teachers.”
McGuire, who recently announced her retirement, has been a teacher for six years.
She said she hopes to see more of the same in Montana.
“Montana has an incredibly talented workforce, but it has an enormous need for good teachers and we have a huge shortage of good teachers in Montana,” she told The Associated Press.
“It’s time for the state to be proactive and do something to create the workforce that Montana desperately needs.”
The state board said teachers in its new position will be paid $65 per hour, up from $53.40.
The increase will be phased in over the next four years.
The board also said that the cost of living in Montana will be increased by about 10 percent over the first five years and the state will spend about $1.3 million on new teacher training programs.
The board also approved $300,000 to hire additional staff for the Montanana Public School District and other districts across the state.
McGuirnie said the money is necessary to ensure the district has enough staff to meet its needs and said that more staff will help the district provide better quality instruction to students.
“This is a huge boost for the district,” she added.
“I’m excited to see what we can do in the next year.”
Teachers will also get paid $2.25 per hour to help pay for school supplies, a $2-per-day raise, and a $1-per day increase for teachers.
The state also announced it will double its budget for kindergarten and third grade to $3,100 for students who are eligible.
The governor’s budget includes $200 million for Montana’s school districts to expand and modernize classrooms and provide better academic opportunities.
The money comes from a special tax levy approved by voters in 2016.