In the ongoing labor negotiations between the Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Teachers Association, the question of fair compensation is at the forefront.
The Economic Policy Institute suggests that teachers should receive pay equivalent to other professionals with similar education and experience.
To determine what this means for Fresno teachers, Transparent California’s Todd Madison examined data from the Census Bureau and the California Department of Education.
According to the most recent data, 64.15% of Fresno Unified teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, while 35.85% have advanced degrees. When adjusting the median income of similarly educated Fresno County residents to reflect a teacher’s additional year of training, the median income is $74,155.
However, data from the Fresno Unified School District’s payroll records, obtained through a Public Records Act request and published on the Transparent California website, shows that the median total pay for a Fresno Unified teacher in 2022 was $99,144.
Comparing Teacher and Private Worker Compensation
To fully understand how a teacher’s compensation compares to a private worker, you must also consider benefits such as healthcare and retirement. The average company contributes 4% of an employee’s salary to a 401K retirement account, along with a 6.2% Social Security contribution, totaling 10.2% of pay.
In contrast, a Fresno Unified teacher will have 29.93% of their salary contributed to their retirement this year, which is 19.73% more than private workers receive.
When factoring in healthcare costs, which average $550/month for private employees, a Fresno Unified teacher earns about $45,000 more than a similarly educated Fresno County resident.
The Future of Teacher Pay in Fresno
The Fresno Teacher’s Association is currently asking for a 13.26% raise retroactive to July 2022, plus an additional 2% per year through 2025-26. It is also requesting a $10,000 bonus this year, $7,500 for each of the next two years, and a $5,000 bonus in the final year. If these demands are met, a private worker would need to earn $149,000 in 2025-26 to match a Fresno Unified teacher’s compensation.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to prioritize higher pay for teachers or improvements to student education lies with parents. As they consider their values and the future of their children’s education, these facts can serve as a guide.
Read more at Fresno Bee.