Most Utah school districts failed to raise teachers' salaries during the 1988-89 school year for the third consecutive year, reports the Utah Foundation.

Thirty-three of the 40 Utah school districts made no change in the salary scale for the year. Only seven districts provided for small increases, according to the private research organization.Millard County School District granted teachers the largest raise anywhere in Utah, averaging $800.

Starting salaries for teachers with a bachelor's degree averaged $15,422.

The foundation study shows that the 1987 Legislature appropriated $34.3 million for a career-ladder program that could supplement the basic salaries for many of the teachers.

The National Education Association shows that the average salary paid to classroom teachers in Utah during 1987-88 was $23,882 - 10 percent below the Mountain States average of $26,526 and 14.8 percent below the national average of $28,031.

But foundation analysts point out that these salary comparisons between Utah and other states can be somewhat misleading for these reasons:

-Utah pays most of the employees' share of the state retirement costs, a fringe benefit that is not generally available in most other states.

-Because of enrollment growth, Utah hires more new teachers each year than most other states. These new teachers tend to be at the lower end of the salary scale, so the overall average salary paid to teachers is lower.

-Salaries for Utahns in most fields tend to be below national and regional averages. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual pay for Utahns during 1987 was 12.2 below the national wage average of $20,855.

-Living costs in Utah generally are slightly lower than in many other parts of the nation.

While teachers in Utah are paid below the national average, instructional personnel in Utah's schools are paid near regional and U.S. averages.