Utah teachers continued to slip last year in salary rankings comparing the states. The state also continued to be last in the country in per-pupil expenditures, the most recent research bulletin of the Utah Education Association shows.
The figures for 1989-90 showed Utah teachers 46th in the rankings when base pay was considered. The average for the country was $31,166 and for Utah $23,686. When the average career-ladder compensation was added, the Utah teachers rose to 39th in the rankings.The highest teacher salaries were paid in Alaska, where the average was $43,153, and the lowest in South Dakota at $21,300.
In constant dollars, the Utah educators actually slipped by 1.5 percent, while the average across the country was a 20.8 percent increase.
Last fall, Utah's teachers received their largest increase in several years, but the 1990-91 figures are not likely to see them coming up much in the national rankings, a UEA spokeswoman said. Average increases in other states have outstripped Utah raises for some time, so even in a relatively good year, the Utah group loses ground.
The average Utah teacher receives 76.3 percent of the national average salary, the figures show.
Utah salaries for all occupations average 14.2 percent lower than nationally, according to U.S. Department of Labor figures for 1989. The cost of living in Utah also averages 8 to 12 percent lower, depending on particular communities, the figures show.
Another factor that lowers Utah averages is the comparatively younger teacher population. An early retirement opportunity several years ago encouraged about 1,900 teachers to leave the profession at a time when they were at the top of local salary scales and in many instances they were replaced by younger teachers at the low end of the scales. Because Utah's student population also is growing, the state hires more new, young teachers than states where student numbers are static or declining.
Utah educators also have a retirement program entirely funded by the state, while many other states have 50/50 agreements or other cost-sharing programs with teachers.
Utah continues to spend the largest share of all government income for education - 42.7 percent. The national average is 34.4 percent.