Since the Great Recession, Florida Department of Education data shows that K-12 Leon County teacher salaries have lost ground to average salaries state-wide.
However, during the same period, Leon County was able to retain teachers at a higher rate when compared to state of Florida trends.
The graph below shows the annual comparison of the average teacher salaries in Leon County compared to the Florida average for each year from 2008 through 2015.
Click on image to enlarge.
In 2008, the average K-12 teacher salary in Leon county was $44,213. That salary was 94.2% of the state average which was $46,930.
In 2015, the average K-12 teacher salary in Leon county was $43,160. That salary was 90.4% of the state average which was $47,744.
The chart above shows that teacher salaries lost ground from 2008 through 2013 and began to recover in 2015. However, the data shows that Leon county ranked 30th in average salaries in 2008 and in 2015 ranked 52nd.
Also during this period, the number of K-12 teachers fell by 4.8% statewide. However, in Leon County the number of teachers fell by 2.4%, or half of the state of Florida rate.
An analysis shows that if Leon County had laid off teachers at the rate equal to the state level and used the money saved from those salaries to augment current teachers, Leon County average teachers salaries would have been approximately $1,800 higher in 2015.
It appears that the decrease in salaries was the result of the school district keeping more teachers.
Was this a decision based on class size requirements or was it a decision to avoid terminating approximately 100 teachers?
TR will explore the answer to this question in our next report.