As part of our continuing coverage of Cape area school finance, CapeCodToday.com conducted a survey of teacher contracts in area districts. This survey is based upon the teacher contract currently available on the Massachusetts Department of Education website. Each district’s full teacher contract is available for review on the state website.
Considering that contracts are for various fiscal years, teacher salaries are relatively consistent between school districts. “Low Step” salary universally includes a teacher with an undergraduate degree. The “top step” varies between “Master’s Plus 30, to CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) to a doctorate all with top years of service.
Teachers typically receive annual pay increases based upon years of service and continuing education.
The lowest bottom-step wage we found was $36,901 in Harwich (Fiscal ’10) and the highest bottom-step wage was $44,263 in Bourne for the current fiscal year. The highest step salary we found was $87,705 at Nauset for Fiscal 2014.
The “longevity bonus” offered by most school districts was a bit of a surprise. After teachers accrue around a decade of service to a district they begin to receive a “longevity” payment – essentially a bonus for staying with the district for many years. The longevity payments are scaled over several steps. In the survey we reported the highest level payment. Sandwich’s FY’10 contract called for a top teacher longevity bonus of $3,300, while Chatham’s FY’10 contract provided only $1,000 in longevity compensation.
Any taxpayer really ought to read their town’s teacher contract to understand how much extra compensation might be paid to their teachers. Stipends are generally paid for teachers who advise student extracurricular activities as well as those who perform extra services for the school such as teacher mentoring, testing coordination…etc.
As with longevity bonuses, stipends vary greatly between districts. For example Upper Cape Tech’s FY’10 contract pays the yearbook advisor a bounty of $3,853 while the Nauset yearbook advisor received only $1,469 in their FY’14 contract. National Honor Society advisors earned from $716 in Chatham’s FY’10 contract to $2,100 in Falmouth’s FY’12 contract.
Student Council advisors received only $1,010 in Cape Cod Tech’s FY’10 contract but received $2,561 in Barnstable’s FY’12 contract.
A teacher who takes on multiple extra duty assignments can add significant income to their contracted salary for classroom teaching.
Cape-Wide Income Stats
According to statscapecod.org, the town with the highest average town-wide wage in FY’10 was Falmouth at $871/week ($45,292/year) and the lowest town-wide wage in FY’10 was Brewster at $615/week ($31,980). In most districts a first-year, bottom-step teacher earned roughly in the middle of the high and low average wage range for the Cape, while highly-educated veteran teachers earned approximately 70% more than the highest area average wage in FY’10.