Utah Teachers: Overworked and Underpaid.

Physics+Teacher+Jason+Parry+Worries+About+His+Salary
Physics Teacher Jason Parry Worries About His Salary

Physics Teacher Jason Parry Worries About His Salary

Kyle Adams

Kyle Adams

Physics Teacher Jason Parry Worries About His Salary

Kyle Adams, Associate Print Editor

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Utah Teachers are paid less than those in 44 out of the 50 states.
For this reason, many teachers are forced to work two jobs to maintain a quality standard of living in Salt Lake City.

“I’ve always had two jobs since I’ve been a teacher.” Government teacher, Jacquelyn Conkling said. “Because otherwise you can’t afford to live.”

Although teachers in Utah struggle to survive on teachers wages, neighboring Colorado pays teachers even less for their work. On April 16th, teachers in Colorado made an effort to change that, rallying at the state capitol for better pay. So far, little has come of the demonstrations, but their actions have been noted. In fact, rallies have broken out all over the nation for the same reason. Teachers are fed up.

“Will I have enough money? Am I going to have to go out and get another full time job? I don’t know,” Conkling said. “It’s not as easy as it looks.”

On www.Utahsright.com, anyone can search for the salaries of public employees in Utah. This includes teachers of public schools, like Highland. On April 16th, however, (the same day as the march in Colorado) these listings were taken down from the site to be updated.

This site has been criticized in the past for the way it presents salary listings, especially for teachers.

Kyle Adams
For every dollar Utah spends, 34 cents go to funding education.

“If you are a public employee, like a teacher,” Geography teacher Jen Jacobson said. “On this site it lists contributions you have made to your retirement, or insurance.”

That means that on the site, amenities such as insurance and social security are included in the total wage of public school teachers. According to this method of presentation, several teachers at highland earn well over $100,000 per year. The only problem is that this is not the amount of money coming back to the teachers.

“What it looks like is that teachers are making as much money as all these other professions, when in fact they’re not.” Jacobson said. “I can’t just say ‘Just give me my insurance money.’ and take that as part of my salary.”

The problem, however is not necessarily that Utah spends less than other states on education in general. In fact, the state spends 34% (the largest portion of its annual funds) on maintaining schools and funding education.

That being said, the problem may not be as much in the amount Utah spends on education, but the way it spends it. Because of larger class sizes, Utah spends less per pupil than any other state. A large proportion of funds goes to administration and school maintenance. It’s easy for teachers to be forgotten.

But hope is not lost for Public school in Utah. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Governor Gary Herbert eventually plans to allocate up to 72% of the 16.7 billion dollar state budget on public education, with most of that going to K-12 schools.

Maybe some of the money will go to better supporting teachers for the hard work they do every day, so they don’t have to get a second job.

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