What do school teachers, part-time coaches make?

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldApril 15, 2012 

A first-year head football coach or a choir director can make a $5,000 annual stipend.

The adviser to a school's math team or science club can make a minimum of $750.

Public school teachers are paid based on rate schedules developed in union negotiations but often derived from the amount the state pays districts for teacher salaries.

However, those salaries don't include the additional pay teachers can get for taking on extra duties, from coaching to advising student clubs and organizations.

Union negotiations at the district level lead to various differences in compensation in benefits, school officials said, but most school districts in the state stick to the salary allocations paid by the state.

The state salary allocations are determined by something called a mix factor, said Jody Hockaday, finance supervisor for the Pasco School District. A mix factor is tied to the level of experience and education a teacher has.

Mix factors determine how much money the state pays to each district for teacher salaries, and so reflects the average experience of a district's teaching staff.

Pasco has one of the lowest average teacher salaries in the Tri-Cities at just more than $49,000 per year. However, Hockaday said the district also has one of the lowest mix factors, a result of hiring so many young teachers as enrollment has boomed.

Mix factors also play into how much a teacher is paid for being a coach, club adviser or taking on other extra duties. Pasco and Richland school districts break duties down into specific categories and those are calculated along with a teacher's mix factor to determine their compensation.

Extra pay is relative to the difficulty of the extra work, with overseeing large sports teams paying more than advising the school's Knowledge Bowl team. In all three Tri-City school districts, extra duties at the high school level garner more additional pay than similar positions at the middle school level.

Head coaching positions in certain high school sports pay out more than head coaching jobs for other high school sports. Tony Howard, executive director of human resources for Richland School District, said coach salaries are tied to the number of players that typically play in each sport along with the inherent physical risk.

But high-profile extra academic duties also collect high pay. High school choir, band and drama directors in Pasco schools can earn almost as much as their school's highest-paid sports coaches. Those positions pay anywhere between $4,500 to $8,500 annually, depending on experience.

Student clubs offer much less in comparison to sports, but start at $750 for a new teacher and can reach more than $3,500.

* Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com

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