The newspaper divided the total of each district’s full-time teachers’ salaries by its number of full-time teachers to get a district average. It used only base salaries.
The article explained teachers in rural Oklahoma often have less competitive salaries than urban areas, but the analysis still showed rural teachers topping the salary list. Why? Teachers in rural areas had more experience, advanced degrees and worked in districts with smaller staff sizes, which affected the rankings.
That’s an interesting finding, especially because one of the biggest challenges rural areas face is teacher retention and recruitment.
Teachers in White Rock Public Schools in McLoud, Okla., had the highest median base salary at $43,600. The article said its teaching staff included a number of staffers with more than 20 years of experience and master’s degrees. The district enrolls 120 students in pre-k through eighth grades.
For highest average base salary, rural Tannehill Public School teachers in McAlester, Okla., made the most at $43,000. Like those in White Rock Public Schools, several teachers had more than 30 years of experience, and nearly half had master’s degrees. The southeastern Oklahoma district serves 190 students in pre-K through eighth grades.
The article had a list of some of the state’s districts, but not all appeared to be on it. The newspaper’s findings raised the question of which districts were at the bottom of the list—were those also rural? And were all of the districts at the top of the list rural, or was it just the No. 1 ranked district? That information was not available.
The Tulsa World included a searchable database of teachers’ salaries.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.