Kansas education association urges boards of education to increase teacher salaries

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Students at Maize South Elementary School learn the word "essential" in class Tuesday afternoon, March 19, 2019.  They discuss things that are essential at school, like teachers and classrooms, pencils and doing their homework. Students at Maize South Elementary School learn the word "essential" in class Tuesday afternoon, March 19, 2019. They discuss things that are essential at school, like teachers and classrooms, pencils and doing their homework.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Members of the Kansas National Education Association are urging state boards of education to increase teacher salaries. 

KTKA reports the requests from the more than 200,000 KNEA members is in response to lawmakers' recent approval of funding for the state's 286 districts. 

"We're calling on every district to invest in teachers and those staff members who work most closely with our students," said KNEA President Mark Farr. "We have funding certainty, and our educators deserve to be compensated for their dedication to our students and the profession. Teachers are professionals who shouldn't need to work two, and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet."

Kansas fell from 40th in 2016-2017 to 41st in 2017-2018 for average teacher salary, according to the National Education Association's annual Ranking and Estimates Reports

Neighboring states, such as Oklahoma, are investing in teacher's salaries with the 2018-2019 estimates placing every state above Kansas. Oklahoma ranked 50th in 2016-2017, and is now estimated to rank above Kansas.

For 2018-2019, the average teacher salary is estimated to be $49,800 in Kansas, $50,064 in Missouri, $52,412 in Oklahoma, $53,301 in Colorado and $54,506 in Nebraska, the Topeka ABC affiliate reports. 

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"If Kansas does not prioritize teacher salaries, we will remain behind all four of our surrounding states," Farr said. "If we respect teachers and the dedication these professionals have shown during the last decade, then let us invest in our students by investing in our teachers who are the one resource that impacts learning and achievement the most."

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