Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Alabama teacher salaries now lower than a decade ago

MADISON, Ala. -- Alabama lawmakers agreed to fund a 2.5% pay raise for teachers next year but is that enough to help teachers who are struggling with low salaries? An analysis by our news partners at AL.com shows that the value of Alabama's teacher salaries has been decreasing for years, and is now worth less than it was a decade ago.

After adjusting for inflation the average teacher in Alabama now makes 7% less than they did ten years ago, according to an analysis done by AL.com.

Madison City Schools superintendent, Robby Parker, was a teacher for 12 years, he says it's the hardest job he has ever done.

"I wish we could pay teachers what they're worth," Parker said. "I promise you teachers don't earn what they're worth."

In March, Governor Kay Ivey signed bills into law that will provide a 2.5% pay increase for school employees. The first pay raise in close to a decade. But that may not be enough to satisfy teachers who say they are overworked and underappreciated.

"They do not work 40 hours a week," Parker said. "You start at seven in the morning and at 10 at night you're not done."

Huntsville City Schools recently enacted a three-year, $10 million plan to improve teacher pay in the district. Parker says Madison City Schools are always assessing their teacher salaries, and comparing them throughout the state.

"We feel like we're very competitive, but we will look this summer," Parker said. "We continue to look to see where we stand."

He said the state pays the majority of the teacher's salaries, and the school board gives yearly step raises.

"I certainly feel like that is something our board will do this year. It's not been approved for the next year. I'm very confident that our board will pass the step raises for next year," Parker said.

Compared nationwide, Alabama's average annual salary ranks 37th lowest in the country. According to AL.com's analysis after the 2.5% statewide increase kicks in most teachers should finally be making more than they were a decade ago.